Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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Lightning Talk: Fisheries [clear filter]
Monday, January 28

10:20am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Using a Long-term Tagging Study to Evaluate Escapement, Survival, and Angler Catch of Stocked Muskellunge in Ohio Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Curtis P. Wagner, Kevin S. Page – Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Muskellunge fisheries in Ohio are maintained through stocking.  The Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) stocks approximately 20,000 advanced-fingerling (10–12 inches) Muskellunge annually among nine reservoirs (1 fish/acre).  Currently, voluntary angler reports of Muskellunge catches provide managers with information on the locations, numbers, sizes, and harvest of Muskellunge.  However, this voluntary reporting approach potentially misses critical information on population dynamics metrics such as survival, escapement, and the probability of catching a fish.  To provide additional information on which to evaluate Muskellunge population dynamics in Ohio, the ODOW initiated a long-term tagging study.  Starting in 2013, all Muskellunge stocked into four study reservoirs (>43,000) have been implanted with passive integrated transponders (PIT).  Escapement of Muskellunge is monitored using in-stream PIT detection systems stationed within dam spillways.  Anglers report in-reservoir recaptures using handheld PIT tag readers.  To date, more than 850 implanted Muskellunge have been detected or reported. Focusing on the escapement component of the study, we found that escapement of Muskellunge appears to vary seasonally and depend on the type of dam water control structure.  For one reservoir, the probability of escapement was 4 – 36%, annually.  Together, these estimates provide a more comprehensive picture of Muskellunge fisheries in Ohio reservoirs.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:20am - 10:30am EST

10:30am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Movements and Habitat Use of Muskellunge in Green Bay, Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Robert Sheffer, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Daniel Dembkowski, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Steven Hogler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Joshua Raabe, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Daniel Isermann, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Green Bay and its tributaries support a world-class fishery for trophy muskellunge that attracts anglers from across North America. The Lower Fox River and Green Bay muskellunge population is largely supported by stocking because natural recruitment is limited, possibly due to habitat limitations. While previous work has identified potential spawning locations, it is unknown whether muskellunge hatch at these locations and habitat attributes associated with successful hatching have not been determined. Our objectives are to: 1) determine the proportion of muskellunge spawning in tributaries to lower Green Bay or in Green Bay proper; 2) determine the proportion of adults that return to stocking locations to spawn; 3) determine if muskellunge return to the same spawning locations in consecutive year; 4) define habitat conditions that result in successful hatching and 5) characterize general movement patterns of muskellunge. We will identify spawning sites of tagged muskellunge (N = 60) using radio and acoustic telemetry and conduct spawning habitat surveys. Presence or absence of eggs and larvae at spawning sites will be used to develop predictive maps of suitable habitat throughout the Green Bay ecosystem.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:30am - 10:40am EST

10:40am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Influence of Mink Predation on Brown Trout Survival and Size-Structure in Rapid Creek, South Dakota
AUTHORS: Austin G. Galinat, South Dakota State University; Steven R. Chipps, USGS South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit ; Jonathan A. Jenks, South Dakota State University

ABSTRACT: In the early 2000’s, annual population surveys indicated that abundance of adult brown trout (Salmo trutta; >200 mm) in Rapid Creek, South Dakota had declined by approximately 70% and currently, the factors influencing survival are poorly understood. Recent studies show that growth and condition of brown trout in Rapid Creek are high compared to other Black Hills populations and diet analysis shows that food availability is an unlikely source of mortality. However, a recent study discovered that predation by mink (Mustela vison) accounted for 32% of brown trout mortality in Rapid Creek. Limited refuge habitat combined with high water clarity in Rapid Creek may enhance capture and foraging success by mink on adult trout. Moreover, the lack of stationary ice cover in tail water reaches, like that of our study area, has been linked to increased predation on trout by predators such as mink. Three experimental sites along Rapid Creek have been selected: (1) in-stream habitat improvement, (2) mink removal, and (3) control. Eight fish from each section were surgically implanted with radio transmitters and tracked for six months. Mortality has been observed at all study sites. 50% of predation in the habitat improvement site (n=4) and 25% of predation in the control site (n=2) is attributed to mink. 25% of predation in the mink removal site (n=2) is attributed to avian predators. Currently, another six month fish tracking period is underway. Survival estimates will be assessed between the three fish populations using mark-recapture survey techniques. Additionally, mink are being captured, implanted with radio transmitters, and tracked to determine movement and home ranges. Data gathered in this study will provide insight into the effectiveness of management techniques such as instream habitat improvements and predator block management on trout populations.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:40am - 10:50am EST

10:50am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Effects of Dam Removal on the Community Structure of Micropterus Species in Two Midwestern Rivers
AUTHORS: Reuben D. Frey, Eastern Illinois University; Cassi Moody-Carpenter, Eastern Illinois University; Shannon Cassandra Frary Smith, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Flow regimes have been altered by the construction of dams on many lotic systems in the United States. Physical habitat changes within these systems in response to changed hydrology have been observed to affect the community structures of fish species therein. Removal of dams may revert the physical habitat characteristics of an impounded reach towards that of a free-flowing river system and subsequently invite a fish community shift. I investigated the effects of two separate low-head dam removals on the Vermilion River and North Fork Vermilion River in eastern Illinois on the community structure of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), and Largemouth Bass (Mictropterus salmoides). Data were collected from 2012 to 2015 using multiple gear types at six study sites on each river; two sites in the below-dam reach, two sites within the impounded reach, and two sites upstream of the impounded reach. Proportional abundance (pa) of each study species was observed to differ between each reach. Smallmouth Bass in both rivers were observed to have lower proportional abundance within the impounded reaches (pa = 0.005382) and higher proportional abundance in the below-dam (pa = 0.006611) and upstream (pa = 0.007102) reaches. In contrast, Largemouth Bass showed higher proportional abundance in the impounded reaches (pa =0.018838) and lower proportional abundance in the below-dam (pa = 0.010105) and upstream (pa = 0.005356) reaches, with Spotted Bass showing a similar pattern in the Vermilion, but not in the North Fork Vermilion. Variation in proportional abundance of fish may be driven by physical habitat requirements of each species. Future research will investigate the effect of changed flow regime on available physical habitat and Micropterus species community structure following dam removal.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:50am - 11:00am EST

11:00am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) The Ancient Sport Fishes Project: Old Fish Emerging as a New Multimodal Recreational Fishery
AUTHORS: Jeffrey A. Stein, University of Illinois; Solomon R. David, Nicholls State University; Sarah M. King, University of Illinois

ABSTRACT: Gars (Lepisosteidae) and Bowfin (Amiidae), collectively known as holosteans, are among the most ancient fish lineages native to North American waters. Understudied and historically disliked relative to other North American fisheries, many holostean populations have declined due to habitat loss, overfishing, and eradication efforts. Furthermore, knowledge regarding the basic biology and life history of these species is limited. As anglers’ perception of these ancient species begins to transform from “rough fish” to “sport fish,” the need for a better understanding of the ecology and conservation status of holostean populations is fundamental to their effective management. This lightning talk will provide an overview of the Ancient Sport Fishes Project, a collaboration among researcher at the University of Illinois and Nicholls State University that explores the spatial ecology, population dynamics, genetics, and human dimensions of Gars and Bowfin.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:10am EST

11:10am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Dietary Comparisons of Fishes in the US and Mongolian Mountain Steppe
AUTHORS: Mario Minder, Mark Pyron, Robert Shields – Ball State University; Emily Arsenault, Greg Matthews – University of Kansas; Bolortsetseg Erdenee, Drexel University

ABSTRACT: Compared the the United States, rivers in Monglolia are very minimally impacted by human development. As part of a larger macrosystems project we focused on the diets of fishes located in both the U.S. and Mongolian Mountain Steppe ecoregions. We analyzed gut contents from fishes collected across multiple sites on each continent to compare diets among species and funtional groups. Using the Manly-Chesson diet selectivity index we compared the contents of our stomachs to results of invertebrate surveys performed concurrently with our fish sampling.The results of this will be used in conjuction with future sampling efforts that will complete in the Summer of 2019 in the Mongolian Grassland.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:10am - 11:20am EST

11:20am EST

(UPDATED) (FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Demographics of a Population of Blue Suckers, Cycleptus elongatus, in an Un-impounded Midwestern River
AUTHORS: Dakota Radford, Cassi Moody-Carpenter, Robert Colombo – Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Blue Suckers, Cycleptus elongatus, in the Wabash River bounding southern Illinois from southern Indiana are one of few readily surveyable assemblages of this species. Understanding the demographics of this population is an important measure to inform the conservation of a species critically imperiled in parts of its range. We used nine years of  Blue Sucker samples (n=499) collected via randomized DC electrofish sampling for a long-term Wabash River fish monitoring program to draw conclusions about population density, size structure, and condition. We identified dominant size classes at 601-650mm total length (25.1%) and 651-700mm total length (27.6%) based on samples ranging from 66-775mm (mean 617.0mm).  In-progress research includes a comparison of conflicting methods and results for Blue Sucker aging, a morphological comparison and histological study of Blue Sucker gonads, and genetic analysis using microsatellite loci to compare heterogeneity against geographic distance. It is the goal of this research to inform Blue Sucker assessment methods and management of this declining species by enhancing our understanding of functional Blue Sucker populations, and to provide a snapshot of an assemblage of this species. 

Monday January 28, 2019 11:20am - 11:30am EST

11:30am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Fish Assemblages in an Effluent Dominated Stream in Central Illinois
AUTHORS: Ryan W. Sparks, Cassi J. Moody-Carpenter, Scott Meiners, Robert E. Colombo – Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: The Sangamon River, a tributary to the Illinois River, stretches about 396 kilometers across Central Illinois. The river basin has a dam located in the city of Decatur, IL creating a lake to supply drinking water for the city. Roughly 5 miles downstream of Lake Decatur, the Sanitary District of Decatur releases treated wastewater into the Sangamon River. Furthermore, 2 combined sewer outflows are located above the effluent, they are not treated. Fish were sampled at sites above this point pollution, directly at the source, and several miles below using DC-pulse electrofishing for 3 years. Also, we collected water quality data from 1 site upstream and 5 sites downstream of the Sanitary District. Our results showed high numbers of forage fish, consisting of almost 35 percent of the family Clupeidae and 18 percent Cyprinidae. The next highest abundance was Catostomidae at 30 percent; which displayed a high proportion of abnormal fin morphology. All abnormal fish were found below the point pollution of the wastewater treatment plant. Using Pulse-DC electrofishing, we will continue sampling our sites as well as incorporating mark-recapture methods in different seasons to track movement of fish in relation to the effluent.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:30am - 11:40am EST

11:40am EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Location, Location, Location: Identifying Preferential Drifting and Swimming Paths for Grass Carp Eggs and Larvae Under Different Flow Conditions
AUTHORS: Andres Prada, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Amy George, Ben Stahlschmidt, Duane Chapman – USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center; Rafael O. Tinoco, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: To monitor and control the spread of invasive fish species, such as grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), we need to know where to find them. Natural streams have complex cross sections with varied bed roughness and in-stream obstructions that alter flow conditions and influence the transport of grass carp during its early life stages. To identify how changes in mean velocity, vorticity, and turbulence levels affect the drifting and swimming patterns of eggs and larval grass carp, we conducted a series of laboratory experiments in a recirculating flume. Live diploid grass carp eggs were stocked and monitored for 80 consecutive hours. We investigated three scenarios: 1) a gravel bump, 2) vertical rigid pier, and 3) rigid submerged vegetation. We used quantitative imaging to track eggs and larvae throughout the duration of each test, obtaining their preferred spatial distribution, as well as drifting and swimming trajectories under each flow scenario. We found clear correlations between the larval spatial distributions and flow conditions characterized through particle image velocimetry. Differences between identified trajectories for eggs and larvae at various developmental stages show a clear active response to spatially heterogeneous flow fields, where larvae actively avoided areas of high shear, preferring zones of lower turbulence and low vorticity levels. Data show that there is not only a threshold mean velocity which exceeds the swimming ability of the larvae, but also thresholds for turbulence statistics that define whether the eggs or larvae can be found at specific zones in natural streams. Since the three chosen scenarios generate turbulence and coherent flow structures at multiple scales at various orientations, our findings can be applied to inform detection and capture methods in natural streams.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 11:50am EST

11:50am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Assessment of a Post Fish Renovation Stocking Strategy of Adult Pre-Spawn Largemouth Bass in Two Southern Iowa Impoundments
AUTHORS: Andy Jansen, Iowa DNR's Mount Ayr Fish Management and Cold Springs Fish Management Stations

ABSTRACT: Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) abundance post-renovation and time for bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) to grow to 8 inches have varied in impoundments following complete fish renovations. This study evaluated a post-renovation stocking strategy to increase young of year (YOY) largemouth bass (LMB) abundance that utilized pre-spawn adult (> 12 inches) LMB at the rate of 1.0/acre, in addition to the traditional stocking strategy that uses 2-inch LMB fingerlings stocked in June, and time for bluegills (BLG) to reach 8 inches at Little River Watershed Lake and Prairie Rose Lake. First year post-renovation LMB fall electrofishing catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) for the two impoundments were 1084/hour and 430/hour, respectively. It was determined that a vast majority of the fall YOY LMB were from natural reproduction. Maximum lengths of BLG sampled in Little River Watershed Lake and Prairie Rose Lake in fall fyke nets exceeded 8 inches two years post fish renovation. It was determined that BLG did grow to 8 inches in two years with the development of a high LMB abundance the first year post-renovation. This evaluation has shown pre-spawn adult LMB stocking strategy in two renovated impoundments produced a high LMB abundance the first year post-renovation and 8-inch BLG in two years.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:50am - 12:00pm EST