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Tuesday, January 30 • 5:00pm - 5:20pm
STURGEON, ESOCIDS & COREGONIDS: Larval Lake Whitefish Dynamics in Connected and Open Waters of Green Bay, Wisconsin

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AUTHORS. Andrew Ransom, Patrick Forsythe, Christopher Houghton - University of Wisconsin - Green Bay; Scott Hansen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Dale Hanson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT. A resurgence of the Lake Whitefish population within the waters of Green Bay has been documented in recent years, despite a stable population level reported for Lake Michigan as a whole. Large numbers of adult Lake Whitefish have been documented spawning in the Fox, Oconto, Peshtigo, and Menominee Rivers, suggesting growing importance of riverine contributions to the overall population. While understanding of the ecology and behavior of adult Lake Whitefish in Green Bay has improved, aspects of early life history strategy are still unknown. Survival to larval stage in these recently recolonized tributaries is unknown, and duration and extent of open water pelagic drift has not been quantified. To assess larval dynamics throughout the system, active trawl-type sampling was conducted at 83 open water locations in 2014, 2015 and 2017, the Menominee River in 2015, and within all four major tributaries in 2017. A total of 1,213 larvae were captured during the three years of open water sampling, 699 during the 2015 Menominee River study, and 229 on three of four tributaries during 2017. Resulting data will provide insight to Lake Whitefish hatch and larval pelagic drift dynamics throughout the greater Green Bay ecosystem. Sampling will continue in all four major tributaries and open water in 2018 and 2019.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 5:00pm - 5:20pm CST