South Heart River Walleye Project 2003
Leanne Osokin and John Tchir
The objectives of this project were to assess the effectiveness of the closed zone regulation in protecting spawning walleye and to identify spatial locations of critical spawning areas within the South Heart River drainage. Transmitter implant operations commenced on May 1st and concluded on May 28th. Sixty-eight adult walleye (Sander vitreus) were implanted with radio transmitters and tracked in the South Heart River / Buffalo Bay and the west basin of Lesser Slave Lake from May 12th to August 18th, 2003. Telemetry flights (N = 14) relocated walleye with transmitters 307 times. No fish were relocated within the Buffalo Bay complex after June 9th; 49% of the implanted walleye were relocated within the closed zone portion of Lesser Slave Lake on that date. On June 16th, the opening day for angling, 14 transmittered walleye were relocated within the regulated area of Lesser Slave Lake. Three implanted walleye were still present in the closed zone on August 18th. Three transmittered walleye were removed from the study due to angler harvest; 2 additional fish were suspected as removed although the transmitters were not returned. This year’s data were insufficient to address habitat use by spawning walleye in the South Heart River / Buffalo Bay area or to assess the timing regulation for this area. However, the 2004 spring telemetry flights will capture this information more effectively.