By Dr. A. Shultz, D. Lord, and C. Klimah Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission, Mille Lacs Band DNR
This fall, Mille Lacs Band biologists and technicians implanted acoustic transmitters in odoonibii (tullibee) on Mille Lacs Lake.
The tagging occurred during spawning in the fall when odoonibii move into shallow and cooler water. Odoonibii is thought to be an important prey item for larger predators in the ecosystem and likely serve as forage for adult ogaa (walleye) when other prey resources become limited, like asaawe (yellow perch).
In May and June, biologists from Mille Lacs Band, Fond du Lac, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) worked together to implant additional acoustic transmitters into juvenile ogaa, adult ginoozhe (northern pike), and 5.6-10-inch asaawe (yellow perch) in Mille Lacs Lake.
This study aims to understand habitat use of these three beings throughout the year. The findings from this research will help biologists understand how food web interactions with predators (ginoozhe) and prey (asaawe) may be influencing walleye movements in the lake.
In June, biologists focused on deploying additional receivers into rivers connected to Mille Lacs Lake. Adding these receivers will allow biologists to monitor movements of the aforementioned fish into the surrounding rivers.
This research will inform conservation and management strategies for fish habitat in the watershed.
Biologists have also begun analyzing movement data of adult and juvenile ogaa (walleye) from summer 2018 to spring 2019. An animation of an adult ogaa movements during this time period shows limited movements in the lake for most of the year until ice off when it moved to a known spawning area. More animations of adult and juvenile ogaa will be published in the coming months and will include multiple fish in the same animation.
For more information, please contact Mille Lacs Band Fisheries Biologist Carl Klimah at firstname.lastname@example.org or GLIFWC Fisheries Biologist Aaron Shultz at email@example.com.