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Post Info TOPIC: Will Natural Selection change the way walleyes spawn on Mille Lacs?


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Will Natural Selection change the way walleyes spawn on Mille Lacs?
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Natural Selection is the way a particular species or genus of animals and plants adapt to their environment to be able to survive.

Are the Tribal nets each spring going to make the walleye in Mille Lacs start spawning in deeper water?

Let's take a look at that for a minute...........confuse

First, we need to look at HOW Natural Selection works:

Natural selection

Natural selection is one of the basic mechanisms of evolution, along with mutation, migration, and genetic drift.

Darwin's grand idea of evolution by natural selection is relatively simple but often misunderstood. To find out how it works, imagine a population of beetles:

  1. There is variation in traits.
    For example, some beetles are green and some are brown.
Color variation in these beetles

 

  1. There is differential reproduction.
    Since the environment can't support unlimited population growth, not all individuals get to reproduce to their full potential. In this example, green beetles tend to get eaten by birds and survive to reproduce less often than brown beetles do.
Differential reproduction
  1. There is heredity.
    The surviving brown beetles have brown baby beetles because this trait has a genetic basis.
Heredity of the traits of the beetles who survive
  1. End result:
    The more advantageous trait, brown coloration, which allows the beetle to have more offspring, becomes more common in the population. If this process continues, eventually, all individuals in the population will be brown.
Eventually, the advantageous trait dominates

Download this series of graphics from the Image library.

If you have variation, differential reproduction, and heredity, you will have evolution by natural selection as an outcome. It is as simple as that.

So, if the Tribal nets are all set in 10ft of water or less, which is where they HAVE to set their nets, cuz they only have 6 foot wide nets, they don't catch the walleyes that spawn in water deeper than 10 FOW.

Walleyes spawn in water from one foot to over 20 feet deep. Rocky and gravel covered shorelines are the most typical spawning sites; however, if habitat is lacking walleyes will also spawn on sand and in other less desirable areas. An abundance of broken rocks and gravel in water three to 10 feet deep will normally attract the largest concentrations of fish.

But the ones that spawn in deeper water will be the eggs that will become more walleyes. The ones that are spawning in less than 10 FOW will be caught before they can reproduce.

Are we creating a sub-species that will spawn deeper for survival of the species, genetically?

And if they're staying deeper because of the Tribal nets, doesn't that mean that they no-doubt are doing the same to the DNR survey nets?

Hmmmm..........................evileye



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I suggested to Tom Jones from the DNR last Wednesday evening something that falls into what is mentioned here. The fall nets are set the same each fall such as date,water temperature and location. What I understand is they set 32 nets in shallow water and 20 out in deep water on the mudflats.

I suggested that they ( MnDNR) start setting another 50+ nets in new areas......going along with the idea that the fish are in fact now in differert areas of the lake. With them setting the old nets and new nets in the new areas it would show wheather in fact the fish have/are moving in new areas of the lake. This maybe do to food, the many smallmouth bass in the shallow reefs or other causes......

 

Whats your thoughts on this idea?



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My thoughts are the fall survey nets are set in a very wide range of the various lake features and areas. If one type of area or more is not lived in by the fish at the time the nets were put in, but were in the lake, the net numbers would rise elsewhere.

 

"Shallow nets" ( around 200ft. long) for example, are laid across a wide swath of depths. Most shallow nets can and do cover water from 4ft. to 15ft. NOT just  real  "shallow". They usually are set so they cover both the top, edge and bottom of any structure they are set relative to. Some "shallow" nets are set on flat bottom as well.

 

Deep water nets cover structure in the same way and "no mans" land nets cover the whole water column in some cases.

 

Some question the survey numbers due to water temp being warmer certain falls. Thus--having less fish in the shallows. Should the numbers be higher than  (even out numbers wise for the lake?)  in the deep water? The warm water thing, in fact, should play no role! In fact, at the peak of warm water temps, historically, countless walleyes live in Lake Mille Lacs in LESS THAN 7FT. In fact, if warmer water is in place later than usual in the fall during the surveys, MORE walleyes could or should be in those shallow nets. WARM WATER DOES NOT DISPLACE WALLEYES FROM THE SHALLOW WATER.

In the end, it is very hard to question the wide ranging survey nets over a period of years of consistency in timing and placement.

 

The smallmouth thing could play a role, no doubt. BUT!! Everywhere else, (other lakes) where walleyes and smallies co-habit, they only separate by school, not location. In other words, you might have a rock pile with schools of smallies on one end and a school of walleyes on the other end. On Lake Mille Lacs, a few years back while scouting shallow rock for a muskie event--sight scouting--as usual, we found countless schools of walleyes on most reefs in less than 5ft. of water in August at the height of the days sun. But also on  most of those same reefs, we saw schools of smallies--but not too clsoe to the walleyes. (Over the years, I have seen this scenario countless times before and after that day)  So with that said, the survery nets should catch walleyes in the shallows even with smallies living on the same reef as they did over the years. And again, if the smallies have displaced the walleyes, then the deeper nets should should show a consistent higher average per net than over the survey history--right?

 

My conclusion? As I said many years ago in an In-Fish article, "they ain't got wings and they ain't got shovels". So--if the walleyes are in the lake, the survey nets would find them......I have no sound reason to doubt the survey nets based on how, where and when they are set from year to year.



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Steve Fellegy wrote:

My thoughts are the fall survey nets are set in a very wide range of the various lake features and areas. If one type of area or more is not lived in by the fish at the time the nets were put in, but were in the lake, the net numbers would rise elsewhere.

 

"Shallow nets" ( around 200ft. long) for example, are laid across a wide swath of depths. Most shallow nets can and do cover water from 4ft. to 15ft. NOT just  real  "shallow". They usually are set so they cover both the top, edge and bottom of any structure they are set relative to. Some "shallow" nets are set on flat bottom as well.

 

Deep water nets cover structure in the same way and "no mans" land nets cover the whole water column in some cases.

 

Some question the survey numbers due to water temp being warmer certain falls. Thus--having less fish in the shallows. Should the numbers be higher than  (even out numbers wise for the lake?)  in the deep water? The warm water thing, in fact, should play no role! In fact, at the peak of warm water temps, historically, countless walleyes live in Lake Mille Lacs in LESS THAN 7FT. In fact, if warmer water is in place later than usual in the fall during the surveys, MORE walleyes could or should be in those shallow nets. WARM WATER DOES NOT DISPLACE WALLEYES FROM THE SHALLOW WATER.

In the end, it is very hard to question the wide ranging survey nets over a period of years of consistency in timing and placement.

 

The smallmouth thing could play a role, no doubt. BUT!! Everywhere else, (other lakes) where walleyes and smallies co-habit, they only separate by school, not location. In other words, you might have a rock pile with schools of smallies on one end and a school of walleyes on the other end. On Lake Mille Lacs, a few years back while scouting shallow rock for a muskie event--sight scouting--as usual, we found countless schools of walleyes on most reefs in less than 5ft. of water in August at the height of the days sun. But also on  most of those same reefs, we saw schools of smallies--but not too clsoe to the walleyes. (Over the years, I have seen this scenario countless times before and after that day)  So with that said, the survery nets should catch walleyes in the shallows even with smallies living on the same reef as they did over the years. And again, if the smallies have displaced the walleyes, then the deeper nets should should show a consistent higher average per net than over the survey history--right?

 

My conclusion? As I said many years ago in an In-Fish article, "they ain't got wings and they ain't got shovels". So--if the walleyes are in the lake, the survey nets would find them......I have no sound reason to doubt the survey nets based on how, where and when they are set from year to year.

I thought I'd wait and see if anyone responds to this and points out an obvious part to the above scenario. No one has so I will add now, that obviously there is a big percentage of ACTUAL INDIVIDUAL FISH that are not getting fished--just because there is a lot of water that rarely if ever gets fished. But that said, that means we are catching MANY fish over and over again. My point with all this? The catch rate/numbers caught, which has been high lately winter and summer-relativley speaking--is NOT any indication of high numbers of fish in the lake.

I hope my feeble attempt at this makes sense and is understood. (and I could be wrong but..??)

 


 



-- Edited by Steve Fellegy on Monday 4th of March 2013 09:37:30 AM

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I just got off the phone with Pat Schmalz who is a biologist with the MN DNR. He does alot of work with the fish caught each year in the fall survey nets to assist in assessing overall health and status of the walleyes in Mille Lacs to aid in developing biological "models" to show a "safe allowable havest". 

Even though he admits the surveys aren't perfect, due to an abundance of variables, they are essential in ascertaining the walleye population of the lake, which he uses in his work.

So this is what they have to go by. Obviously, you can't count every fish in Mille Lacs. (Although given our current trend, it may not be long before you can count them on one hand.)

I asked if the smallmouth explosion in the lake is being researched and he told me that none was being done in his office in Duluth, but said the Aitkin office may have more info. So I called Eric Jensen, an Aitkin office fisheries technician to get further info.

Eric told me he was working on the 2012 survey report right now. He said it won't be made available to the public until May or June, when it is finallized.

He DID tell me that the smallmouth surveyed in the nets hasn't gone up. Just one per net. Same as last year. The catch rate was highest in 2009. While he said that it's too early to tell if the smallie population was leveling off, from what information they had, it was more the particular year class (larger) that was the most remarkable. Of course, a bigger smallie is going to eat more than a smaller one. When examined, the contents of their stomach were overwhemingly crayfish.

Schmalz told me that there were alot of walleye and perch in the walleyes' stomachs being examined. He said that although walleyes prefer other forage, when that isn't available, they DO canabalize their young and that is what seems to be happening. 

Hmmm. Alot of large walleyes in the lake + limited reproduction due to gill netting + hungry muskies & northerns who like walleye and perch + zebra mussels eating ALOT of zooplankton = not much forage

 



-- Edited by fishnpole on Monday 4th of March 2013 12:52:02 PM

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Thanks, Fishnpole. Well Done partner. smile

Excellent research and scientific reasoning. It is not sounding nor looking very good to Malmo Mike. I think you and I need to have a cold one and have a toast to the walleye family before it is too late. Too many predators and not enough walleye fry to sustain the lake.

 

 

 



-- Edited by MCallies on Monday 4th of March 2013 04:55:27 PM

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Hey Steve, I can speak from personal experience this last winter season on catching the same walleye twice within 6 hours, still had the same red hook my brother had cut off, stuck at the bottom of its mouth. I am curious as to some of the mid-lake mud flat people who had 10 plus fish a night on how many were a re-catch over the weekend.

Like what was said earlier, their are no walleye fry, and if there was, is there any bait for them to eat. The zebra mussels in our area seemed to be about the same in numbers as last year, but the water was more cloudy. Maybe the SE corner had a heavy water current before ice up, wierd though.

If the netting season sucks this year will the wisconsin members continue to come back? They seem to be the bigger hoaders out of all of them. Lets hope the spring netting season sucks, and some how the perch numbers increase, yeah I'm blowing smoke now.

Good article.



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I don't know, I guess this topic is going everywhere, but since you just brought up zebra mussels and we've been talking about smallies and crayfish, look at this that I just found:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_mussel

Crayfish could have a significant impact on the densities of 1 to 5 mm long zebra mussels. An adult crayfish consumes an average of nearly 105 zebra mussels every day, or about 6000 mussels in a season. Predation rates are significantly reduced at cooler water temperatures. It seems that fish do not limit the densities of zebra mussels in European lakes.Smallmouth bass are a predator in the zebra mussels' adopted North American Great Lakes habitat.[13]

And don't forget THESE pirahnas...................I'll bet if smallies eat 'em, so  do rockies!



-- Edited by fishnpole on Monday 4th of March 2013 07:31:39 PM

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fishnpole, you are on!!!!

Last year we could look down our fish holes and watch anywhere between 4 to 8 big boy crayfish walking thru the rocks on what would be hawkbill reef. I even have have a picture of a crayfish we caught during ice fishing. He/she was hungry enough to stay on the fat head minnow all the way up in 13 FOW. Now we gps our spot, so within 20 feet every year, depends on weather. With the amount of crayfish and this years less than average population increase in zebra mussels, maybe something for the dnr to look into.

Mr Steve F and BOBBER what are your thinkings??? You both show the same knowledge of the history of the POND. Mr ERTYLE (sp) have you seen the same. Does the ample amounts of crayfish directly attack the spread of zebra mussels, in your own non=scientific knowledge, dont tread on the DNR THInking.



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