Assessment of the Status of the Sport Fishery for Walleye at Skeleton Lake, 1997


Bill Patterson, M. G. Sullivan


To recover or maintain Alberta's walleye fisheries, a new walleye management strategy was implemented in 1996. In 1996, the walleye fishery at Skeleton Lake was classified as a stocked walleye fishery and a zero (0) daily bag limit was implemented. In order to monitor the status of the walleye fishery at Skeleton Lake, a creel survey was conducted during May to August 1997. Since the last creel survey conducted in 1985, the estimated number of anglers had declined 93% from 5349 to 387 anglers. Angler effort declined, by 93% from 14.5 angler-hours / ha to 0.95 angler-hours / ha. No walleye were reported caught in 145 hours of angling.
Only 3 age-classes of walleye were sampled by the test fishery. The age 3 walleye are possibly recruits from the most recent stocking in 1991. The density of age 3 walleye is less than the density of mature fish.
Skeleton Lake is a stocked walleye fishery. Historically, Skeleton Lake supported only a moderate walleye fishery. The potential for this fishery to recover to historical levels is very low.
Based on the criteria used to classify walleye stocks in Alberta, the absence of walleye in the sport-fishery sample and the historical information the walleye population in Skeleton Lake should retain the classification of “collapsed”.

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