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> Walleye at risk, New study by York University
Michael Kerwin
Posted: Oct 19, 2017 - 01:35 pm


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A recently published article in York University Magazine states, "Climate change is warming Ontario's lake waters. Walleye populations are declining as a result, because of reduced suitable habitat and competition from invading smallmouth bass." In a study of 722 Ontario lakes, researchers "found that when walleye and smallmouth bass are living in the same lakes there are three times fewer walleye."

To view the one page article, go to http://magazine.yorku.ca/issues/fall-2017/fish-out-of-water/.

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Grumpa
Posted: Oct 19, 2017 - 03:29 pm


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Several previous US studies and bioenergetic scenarios showed increased water temperatures did actually have a negative influence on walleye growth but smallmouth bass growth increased under increased temperature simulations.
Although both species will change food preferences over their early development years, interspecies prey competition between adult walleye and smallmouth (in lakes with a healthy abundance of crayfish) doesn't generally have a negative consequence for the co-existing walleye population (given an adequate food supply to accommodate both species).
Dietary analysis studies indicate that smallmouth prey predominately (as much as 80% of their diet) on crayfish, where crayfish aren't generally the primary preferred prey of walleye.
It's not that walleye don't ever prey on crayfish, they're just normally not a walleyes' preferred prey...especially where numerous other prey options are available.
Nipissing has an abundant crayfish population.

http://lnsbr.nipissingu.ca/wp-content/uplo...e-Nipissing.pdf

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buddy
Posted: Oct 19, 2017 - 04:28 pm


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Don't put too much faith in that article. It reads exactly like all the other chicken little doomsday scenarios that we see daily. All the articles are peppered with weasel words and they offer up a future projection to substantiate their position, in this case year 2070. The problem is they have been making projections for over 30 years now and many of the early projection termination dates are now in the past and none of them have panned out. This one will be no different.
I was curious to see who funded the study and lo and behold it is the NSERC. Funny how every study positively reflects the position of the funding entity.

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Grumpa
Posted: Oct 19, 2017 - 07:13 pm


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Valid comments buddy.
The issue I also have, with the limited information given, is that the study's theorized conclusions seem to be just another generalized declaration on the potential effects of climate change, IMO.
Of the 700 plus lake's included in the study we have no information regarding the comparable size of the lake's included, the forage base present and the capacity of each lake to sustain the two species in harmony...or whether the population of both species have co-existed, in balance, for some time as opposed to being recently thrust into competition with each other.
Smallmouth bass are generally regarded as the more aggressive of the two species (any fisherman that's been fishing on his or her favourite walleye spot when a marauding school of smallmouth have moved in...can attest to that)....but taking Nipissing for sample...the smallmouth and walleye populations (first with the blue pickerel strain and more recently yellows) have co-existed in a basic equilibrium since the last ice age (ignoring the human overharvest issues at various points along the way).
There's really no expectation that balance will change going forward.
If smallmouth bass numbers were going to exponentially increase and push out the walleye population that would have surely happened during the most recent documented decline of walleye stocks (which was clearly attributed to overharvest)........and that didn't happen.
Smallmouth bass numbers have only marginally increased (per the OMNRF's lake management review) .....while the walleye population has been in recovery mode.
So like buddy....I think I'd be tempted to view this particular study's broad conclusions with a certain level of scepticism.

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nsfisher
Posted: Oct 19, 2017 - 07:50 pm


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What the article/study did not also include is the increase in fishing pressure. I agree that SMB will adapt to a warmer habitat and flourish while walleye will not do as well. Both species however continue to see ever increasing fishing pressure. Yes Nip has a very tight slot over the past couple yrs but not so much prior to that.
Itís my opinion that both species get heavy pressure but there is far less catch and keep with SMB compared to walleye. This increased fishing pressure along with the climate change cause water temps to rise but making more of a negative impact to the walleye population.

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Paddy
Posted: Oct 20, 2017 - 09:38 am


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Regardless of water temp, if anglers kept every single bass they caught, and released every single eye, we'd be having the same study done on the bass. anglers including commercial.

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ldub
Posted: Oct 20, 2017 - 02:54 pm


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Many northern lakes have an open season on bass all year. They should at the very least encourage people to keep Nipissing bass, to supplement their walleye catch. Bass are readily found virtually everywhere, where as walleye are not. Therefore a premiere walleye lake like Nipissing should not be concerned about the bass population whatsoever. IMO

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