John Mullican, Fisheries Biologist
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Posted on March 5, 2012 | Permalink
Spring Walleye Survey on the Potomac
Location: Upper Potomac River
The Fisheries Service has been conducting electrofishing surveys of the Potomac River walleye fishery. The surveys are conducted annually during the spring to gather population and size distribution data. A good portion of the catch has been 20 to 21 inches in length, within the protected size (From January 1 through April 15 the minimum size for walleye is 15 with a maximum size of 20 in the Potomac mainstem). Walleye from the 2011 yearclass (12 13) and the 2010 yearclass (15 17) were also represented in the samples. Although natural reproduction has been fairly consistent, the yearclasses have been relatively low. To supplement the existing natural reproduction, a small sample (30) of mature walleye was transferred to Manning Warmwater Hatchery for spawning. Following the spawning process the adults and resulting fingerlings will be returned to the river. Producing fingerlings in the hatchery increases their chance of survival because they dont have to contend with potential floods that can reduce the survival of the fry produced in the wild. Potomac walleye typically spawn around the first week of April. River conditions are currently unsafe for boating following the recent heavy rainfall, but walleye fishing is predicted to be very good when river levels recede and the water clears. The report summed up what we have been doing, the river was too high to fish this past weekend.