Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wisconsin Fishery
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wisconsin Fishery Project

Estimating mortality of Lake Sturgeon in the Lake Winnebago system using traditional age-based approaches and capture-recapture models

July 2019 - July 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The lake sturgeon population in the Lake Winnebago System (LWS) supports a culturally and economically important spear fishery that is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Current estimates of mortality used to manage this population may be biased because ages are estimated from fin rays and these estimates are not accurate for older fish. We will develop mark-recapture based models for estimating mortality of Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon based on recovery of fish marked with passive integrated transponders and will compare these with mortality estimated from fin ray ages. This will provide biologists with guidance on whether current estimate of mortality are appropriate for management purposes. The project is a collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This research will provide fishery biologists with guidance on estimating mortality rates of lake sturgeon to improve management of this important fishery.