Immigration and emigration of individuals among populations influence population dynamics and are important considerations for managing exploited populations. Lake Huron and Lake Erie walleye (Sander vitreus) populations are managed separately although the interconnecting Huron-Erie Corridor provides an unimpeded passageway. Acoustic telemetry was used to estimate inter-lake exchange and movement within St. Clair River and Detroit River. Of 492 adult walleyes tagged and released during 2011 and 2012, one fish from Tittabawassee River (Lake Huron; 1 of 259, 0.39%) and one individual from Maumee River (Lake Erie; 1 of 233, 0.43%) exchanged lakes during 2011–2014. However, both fish returned to the lake where tagged prior to the next spawning season. The one walleye from Maumee River that moved to Lake Huron made repeated round-trips between Lake Erie and Lake Huron during three consecutive years. Of twelve fish tagged in the Tittabawassee River detected in the Huron-Erie Corridor, few (n = 3) moved south of Lake St. Clair to the Detroit River. Ten walleye tagged in the Maumee River entered the Huron-Erie Corridor, and five were detected in the St. Clair River. Our hypothesis that walleye spawning in Maumee River, Lake Erie, served as a source population to Lake Huron (“sink population”) was not supported by our results. Emigration of walleye to Lake Huron from other populations than the Maumee River, such as those that spawn on in-lake reefs, or from Lake St. Clair may contribute to Lake Huron walleye populations.

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Journal of Great Lakes Research
Department of Biology

Hayden, T.A. (Todd A.), Vandergoot, C.S. (Christopher S.), Fielder, D.G. (David G.), Cooke, S.J, Dettmers, J.M. (John M.), & Krueger, C.C. (Charles C.). (2019). Telemetry reveals limited exchange of walleye between Lake Erie and Lake Huron: Movement of two populations through the Huron-Erie corridor. Journal of Great Lakes Research. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2019.09.014