I talked with the KDWPT fisheries biologist Scott Waters whose territory includes Glen Elder. It seems walleye behavior is different in each body of water, so when money became available to fund selected studies, Scott submitted an application and was selected for funding of a 3 year walleye study there in Glen Elder Lake.
In early spring, 60 walleye, split evenly between males and females 17 inches and longer were captured with gill nets and trap nets. The fish were taken to shore and placed in an anesthetic bath for several minutes, then a small incision was made in the underside of each and a small ultrasonic transmitter was inserted. Three tiny sutures and a drop of glue was used to close the incision and they were given an antibiotic to prevent infection. When the anesthetic had worn off and all fish were acting normal again, they were returned to the lake. The transmitters have a range of 1 kilometer and will help biologists learn more about walleye mortality rates, movement, home range and habitat there in Glen Elder Lake.
Each fish also has a pink tag in its dorsal fin with its study ID number, KDWPT contact info and a message offering $100 for each transmitter returned from legally kept fish. KDWPT is also asking anglers to report the length and location of each tagged fish they catch that is too short to legally keep, and return it gently to the lake.
Scott and his crew will take to the water a couple times each month to track the fish manually, plus they will be tracked more frequently during certain periods of the year. When a fish is located, water depth and temperature, the identification number of that fish and the GPS coordinates where it’s found will be recorded. Daily movement patterns will also be studies by tracking some fish daily. Angling mortality will be noted when transmitters are returned and natural mortality will be assumed when transmitters show no movement over time. Scott also hopes this study will help them know how many fish pass through the gates out of the lake.
This study is unique for Kansas and will give biologists answers about walleye life that will help them better manage walleye in Glen Elder and other walleye fisheries in Kansas. KDWPT is asking for anglers help by returning transmitters and by recording information from fish not kept. Updates will be provided throughout the study to help fisherman learn more about walleye daily and seasonal patterns and habitat.
When Scott and I spoke this week, 7 tagged fish had been recorded caught and 10 – 15 were assumed to have already gone down stream and out of the lake through the gates. Returned transmitters will be reprogrammed and placed in additional fish. So if you get to fish Glen Elder this year, please help with this study if given the opportunity, to help insure a good supply of walleye fillets for all our freezers! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve Gilliland, Inman, can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.