Walleye Tracking at Monroe Lake
Fisheries biologist Debbie King holds a Monroe Lake walleye.
The Indiana DNR is studying the movements of walleye at Monroe Lake using radio telemetry. A radio tag has been surgically implanted in walleye. The IDNR will be tracking the tagged fish throughout the entire lake. The end result will be a better understanding of walleye movement and habitat selection throughout the lake. This will in turn allow biologists to manage for a better walleye fishery and improved walleye fishing at Monroe Lake.
In April, DNR fisheries biologist Sandy Clark-Kolaks and team implanted electronic transmitters in 33 walleye. A yellow spaghetti tag was attached to the back of each of the radio tagged walleye to make identification easy. These spaghetti tags are serially numbered so that individual fish can be identified by sex and length. However, some of these tags may be lost as the year progresses. The radio transmitter antenna is approximately 14 inches long and provides a reliable mark of the tagged fish, although there is no serial number on the antennae.
Click on the video below to watch a walleye being radio tagged
Based on research from other states walleye are known to frequent standing timber in coves during the spring after spawning, and to be highly mobile early in the season. As midsummer approaches, walleye tend to move deeper and to settle into a reduced home range.
Every week, the walleye team races around the entire 11,000-acre lake near Bloomington tracking the fish. The work has already yielded some interesting information. An example is that multiple spawning sites have been located throughout the lake including some tributaries. Also, each series of sightings have been placed on a lake map to provide a progressive record of the walleye distribution. As the year progresses new walleye relocation maps will be posted to this website to provide insight to anglers on walleye locations and aid them in improving fishing success.
If you catch a tagged walleye, please write down the tag number, RELEASE THE FISH, and report the catch. You can call the South Region Fisheries Office at (812) 279-1215 and ask for Sandy or Bob. You will be asked to provide the date, location of capture and tag number. If the yellow spaghetti tag is no longer on the fish, the fish should still be released, and reporting the capture would still be appreciated. I can be reached by email (sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov).
PLEASE BE AWARE:
Some of the fish have been found above the causeway, which is an idle zone. In order to find and locate all the fish, the tracking boat may be traveling at speeds greater than idle speed. As always caution and courtesy will be used by the boat operator.
- The FINAL report for the walleye project has been posted.
- January 2009 article featured in Indiana Game and Fish entitled "Monroe Lake's World of Walleyes" (View page).
- April 2009 article featured in Walleye In-Sider entitled "Dual Purpose Hoosier study benefits walleyes, lures anglers (View page 1) (View page 2)
- 2008 Walleye locations
- The 2008 report for the walleye project has been posted. Scroll down to "Distribution and Movement of Walleye in Monroe Reservoir".
2009 Walleye locations
- This will be the last posting for the project. I appreciate all your questions, comments, and support throughout this project. If you catch a tagged walleye feel free to harvest it, but we would still like the tags back. The final report should be completed next summer and it will be posted to the website. Feel free to continue to email questions and comments. Thanks Sandy.
- Walleye locations for September 14th are indicated by red dots (View image). Maximum depths of fish locations, temperature and dissolved oxygen profile. We went up to Pine Grove and found the four walleye still up there.
- Walleye locations for August 31st are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for August 21st are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for August 5th are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for July 31st are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for July 21st are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for July 16th are indicated by red dots (View image).
Tag 724 was returned from an angler. This fish was harvested on May 2, 2009. Here is the tracking history of this fish which was tagged on April 10, 2008 (View image).
- Walleye locations for July 6th are indicated by red dots (View image).Tag 724 was returned from an angler. I am still trying to get specifics. We did not go up to Pine Grove and are assuming they will stay up there all summer.
- Walleye locations for June 30th are indicated by red dots (View image). We did not go up to Pine Grove and are assuming they will stay up there all summer.
- Walleye locations for June 23rd are indicated by red dots (View image). We located a couple of fish above Pine Grove from land and am guessing that 805 and 444 are up there too.
- Walleye locations for June 15th are indicated by red dots (View image). We lost a couple fish in the Pine Grove boat ramp area. They may be still up there but it is very difficult to navigate up there and we could not get back in there very far.
- Walleye locations for June 9th are indicated by red dots (View image).
- I'm back tracking and should resume weekly tracking for several more months during the summer. We are seeing some very interesting patterns from tagged walleye. Walleye seemed to be hanging in the same areas as last year and walleye seem to have site fidelity to a particular area. Fish 523 was tagged in Saddle Creek in 2008 spent the summer near Fairfax returned in the spring of 2009 to Saddle Creek and now was found this week back at Fairfax (View image). Fish 464 was tagged at the causeway in 2008 spent the summer in Saddle Creek was found up by Fairfax in spring 2009 and was found this week in Saddle Creek (View image). Fish 504 was tagged at the dam in 2008 and stayed in the Fairfax area all of 2008 and so far this year (View image). I have no idea what this all means and why some fish migrate long distances and chose the location they do. Once again research only succeeds in creating more questions than answers but this fish more much more than I would have guessed.
- Walleye locations for June 1st are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Saddle Creek spawning and site fidelity in spawning was confirmed. Walleye 523 was tagged in Saddle Creek on 4/8/09 and then moved into the other side of the lake for the rest of the year. Walleye 523 was then located in the Saddle Creek area in the spring of 2009. The fish moved up into Saddle Creek was located overnight spawning on 4/11/09. (View image) (View image-zoomed).
- Walleye locations for April 17th are indicated by red dots (View image).Fish seem to be mostly done with spawning and are moving to flooded timber in coves.
- Walleye locations for April 9th are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for April 1st (View image). Walleye were located between 4pm and 11pm to investigate whether spawning is occurring yet.
- Walleye locations for March 30th are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for March 26th are indicated by red dots (View image).
- Walleye locations for March 17th are indicated by red dots (View image).Walleye are moving towards the dam and causeway for spawning.
- Walleye locations for March 9th are indicated by red dots (View image).
I have received some questions about the study from anglers and am more than happy to answer them. Feel free to email with any questions: sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov.
Q. There are a number of fish that have not changed location from the first time period to the last (#343 for instance), or from the second time period to the last. Are those fish alive?
A. The fish are making small movements but with the scale of the map these may not be visible. This is more evident with the map from the 24 hour tracking.
Q. The results only show about half of the number of fish tagged - is that because of
difficulty in locating the fish or because of time restraints in searching for all of them?
A. The tags we are using are different from the tags used in the wiper tracking study. In order to get tags with a longer battery life (about 2 years) we had to use tags that are not as powerful. This could be affecting our ability to hear the fish.
Sizes of the tagged fish.
|Implantation Date||Tag Number||Floy tag||Length (in)||Weight (lb)||Reproductive Status||Status|