Walleye Study on Great Sacandaga Lake
My name is Brian Henry and I am a Biology Teacher at Broadalbin-Perth High School. As some of you may know, I started a fishing club at the school a fews ago to provide kids with opportunities to fish and create a lifelong hobby. It has gone way better than I could have ever imagined. The level of participation we have seen, as well as, the gracious support from local fishermen and businesses have been amazing!
With that said, I have also been teaching a research class at the school. I have focused our research efforts on the natural resources and the educational opportunities that the Great Sacandaga Lake provides. Because of our proximity to it, the reservoir is an ideal place for Broadalbin-Perth to create a unique experience for our students. As part of my course, students have engaged in the numerous methodologies and protocols associated with research design, data collection, analysis, and report writing. I have had preliminary talks with members of the GSLFF, GSLAC and the NYSDEC. They are all in favor of establishing scientific studies on the lake to help understand various components of this fishery.
Over the past year, my students have concentrated their efforts on the walleye in the lake. Some of you are aware that there is an extremely large population of undersized walleye in GSL (smaller than 15 inches in length). Through my personal fishing experiences and talking with many fishermen over the years, "short" walleye seem to be more of the norm than the exception. I have tasked my students to find possible reasons why the walleye are not growing fast and why many fishermen are not necessarily catching legal walleye. They came up with plenty of hypotheses including overfishing, environmental factors, a deficient trophic state, limited biomass, and sparse forage resources just to name a few.
The question my students are currently investigating is, “Are the forage resources available to walleye in the Great Sacandaga Lake limiting their growth?”
The amount of data we collected so far is not substantial, but it is a start. We realize we are only in the preliminary stages of the investigation. The kids are looking to make a connection between the GSL walleye size and the potential impact food resources can have on it. We will be comparing the walleye growth data from GSL to growth & forage availability from other lake studies. We do realize that there are many variables that can impact the growth rates of the walleye, but the type and amount of food they are eating are a few of those variables.
This is where we need your help:
If you are a fisherman on the Great Sacandaga Lake and want to help collect data for us, here is what we are looking for…
1. If you keep any legal walleye (15+ inches) we would like you to remove both gill plates and the stomach.
2. You can put them in a zip lock bag and freeze them.
3. If the fish regurgitates any food you can collect and bag that too.
4. On the bag, please record the date of capture, the length of the fish, and the general area on the lake where it was caught (maybe a landmark to help with the location)
5. You can drop off the bags at: Broadalbin-Perth High School in C/O: Brian Henry 100 Bridge Street Broadalbin, NY 12025
6. I can also supply zip lock bags for you if you would like to stop by the school and pick them up.
The gill plates will help us determine the age of the fish and the stomach will allow us to analyze what the fish have been consuming. This link shows how to successfully remove the gill plate (opercular bone) from a walleye: https://youtu.be/Owni2bHUqDE
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding our study. I think this is a tremendous opportunity not only for my students, but for understanding the complexities of the food web in the lake. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 954-2600
Thank you in advance for your time and efforts with this. Your help will become an integral part of our research and we look forward to sharing the data with you.