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Eagle creek ....
information provided by Indiana DNR
Creek Reservoir, Prairie Creek Reservoir and Summit Lake
Creek is a 1,350 acre water supply impoundment northwest of
Indianapolis, Prairie Creek is a 1,252 acre water supply for the city of
Muncie and Summit Lake is a 600 acre impoundment in Summit Lake State
Park north of New Castle
Walleye fisheries at these three impoundments are in the
Creek has been stocked six consecutive years, mostly with fry; Summit
Lake four years mostly with 1˝ inch long fingerlings and Prairie Creek
two years with fingerlings. Based
on fall young-of-the-year, and fish community survey catches, fishable
walleye populations are developing at each of these waters.
Fish and Wildlife Research and Management Notes
J. Rhett Wisener, Asst. Fisheries Biologist
September 24, 2002
Evaluation of Walleye stockings at Eagle Creek Reservoir
Eagle Creek Reservoir is a 1,350 acre impoundment. The reservoir is
located about 10 miles northwest of Indianapolis and serves the
primary purpose of water supply. Following construction of the
reservoir by the city of Indianapolis in 1968, the Division of Fish
and Wildlife (DFW) renovated and restocked the lake and its watershed
with game fish. The renovation was not a complete success as gizzard
shad and other non-game fish were found the following year.
The primary forage fish at Eagle Creek Reservoir is gizzard shad.
Management has focused on increasing angling opportunities by stocking
predators that utilize shad. Hybrid striped bass were stocked nearly
every year from 1983 to 1999. Because survival of adult hybrid
stripers and angler interest in them were both apparently low and the
white bass population was expanding, the DFW quit stocking hybrids at
Eagle Creek Reservoir.
In 1997 and 1998, the lake was stocked with excess walleye fry from
state hatcheries that totaled nearly 1.75 million (nearly 1,300 per
acre) each year. During a fall evaluation in 1997, young-of-the-year (YOY)
walleye were collected at the rate of 8.3 per hour which was better
than the DFW criteria for a successful stocking of seven per hour.
Since 1999, the annual recommended stocking rate has been 4.05 million
walleye fry (3,000 per acre). However, in 1999 no fry were available,
but the reservoir was stocked with 143,064 fingerling walleye which
was considered slightly more than a full stocking. In 2000, both fry
and fingerling walleye were stocked that accounted for about 65
percent of a full stocking.
DFW stocked just over 3.3 million fry in 2001. As part of a
settlement for a fish kill that occurred in 2000, Indianapolis Water
Company purchased 25,000 walleye fingerlings that were also stocked.
Together, these added up to a full stocking of walleye for the
reservoir in 2001. A fall evaluation was conducted to judge the
success of the 2001 stockings and survival and growth of older
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The fall evaluation was conducted from October 22 to 25 and 29,
2001. Survey effort consisted of 3.75 hours (15, 15 minute stations)
of D.C. electrofishing at night and 12 experimental mesh gill net
lifts. With the exception of one station that was not electrofished,
electrofishing stations and net set locations duplicated those from
2000. All walleye collected were measured to the nearest 0.1 inch and
weighed to the nearest 0.01 pound. Scale samples were taken for age
and growth analysis.
A total of 147 walleye was collected that weighed 98.87 pounds.
Walleye ranged in length from 5.8 to 20.7 inches and averaged 11.0
inches long. Nearly 39 percent of all the walleye sampled were at
least 14 inches long, the minimum size limit for walleye. When YOY are
excluded, 93.4 percent of age 1 and older walleye were 14 inches or
longer. The average size age 1 or older walleye collected was 15.7
Eighty-six YOY walleye were collected. All of the YOY were sampled
while electrofishing except for one that was caught in a gill net. The
electrofishing catch rate for YOY in the present survey was 22.7 per
hour. This was better than the 2000 catch rate of YOY, 17.8 per hour,
and much lower than the 1999 catch rate of 56.8 YOY per hour. The 2001
year class of walleye ranged in length from 5.8 to 9.7 inches and on
average measured 7.4 inches. In 1999 and 2000, YOY walleye averaged
7.2 and 8.1 inches long, respectively. Growth of YOY tends to be
better when catch rates are lower because competition for food is
less. The weights of YOY walleye collected were slightly below normal
compared to central Indiana averages.
Combined, there were 56 age 1 and age 2 walleye collected. At least
27 of these were age 1 walleye. The 2000 year class of walleye ranged
in length from 12.8 to 16.0 inches and averaged 14.6 inches. Only four
of the age 1 fish were less than 14 inches long. In the 2000 survey,
age 1 walleye averaged just 13.1 inches in length. No less than 23
walleye from the 1999 year class were sampled in the present survey.
Age 2 walleye measured 15.4 to 19.7 inches long and averaged 17.3
Five age 3 walleye were collected. Walleye from the 1998 year class
ranged in length from 19.0 to 20.7 inches and averaged 19.8 inches
long. No walleye from the original stocking in 1997 were found. It is
not surprising that few age 3 and no age 4 walleye were found since
only one fish from each of these year classes was collected in the
2000 fall evaluation. Stockings in 1997 and 1998 both amounted to less
than half of what is now the recommended stocking rate.
Growth of the 1999 year class of walleye is substantially slower
than the 1998 year class. In 1999, competition for food among YOY of
all species was high. Besides a full stocking of walleye that year,
for its final hybrid striped bass stocking, Eagle Creek Reservoir
received three times more hybrids than recommended. When growth of all
year classes is averaged, walleye at Eagle Creek Reservoir are growing
normally compared to other central Indiana walleye populations.
Average weights of age 1 and older walleye were mostly normal.
CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
Other than possibly in 1998 when no fall evaluation was conducted,
all of the walleye stockings at Eagle Creek Reservoir have been
successful. There were nearly 23 YOY walleye collected per hour of
electrofishing in the present survey. A catch rate of 7 YOY per hour
is all that is needed to meet the DFW's criteria for a successful
stocking. Most of the 2001 year class of walleye should be at least 14
inches long by the fall of 2002.
Good numbers of age 1 and 2 walleye were collected during the
recent survey. All of the age 2 fish and nearly all of the age 1 fish
were 14 inches or longer. Because of their size and abundance, these
two year classes are contributing the most to anglers. As these two
year classes mature, there should be an increase in the number of
bigger walleye that anglers catch. With the addition of the 2001 year
class to the harvestable population of walleye in 2002, the number of
legal size walleye caught should increase.
The walleye fishery at Eagle Creek Reservoir has not yet reached
its peak. Further stockings are needed to continue the development of
the fishery. The reservoir should be stocked with 4.05 million walleye
(3,000 per acre) in 2002. A fall evaluation will be conducted in 2002
to determine if the stocking was successful and to evaluate survival
and growth of older walleye.
Anglers should know that in addition to the 14 inch minimum size
limit for walleye there is a six fish daily bag limit. Besides
walleye, Eagle Creek Reservoir offers anglers good fishing
opportunities for crappie, largemouth bass, and catfish.
These management and research notes are issued
periodically to provide a quick source of information on wildlife
surveys and investigations, and various wildlife programs prior to more
formal reports. Any information provided is subject to further analysis
and therefore is not for publications without permission.
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