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New walleye study launches in Saginaw Bay

Brady Rogers

A new study to better understand walleye populations and their reproduction patterns will start in Saginaw Bay this week.

The three year study will involve putting transmitters on 350 walleye in and around the Saginaw Bay with the goal of better understanding where the fish are moving and breeding.

Recent advancements in telemetry technology have made the study possible.

Dave Fielder is a research biologist with the Michigan DNR. He says researchers still don’t understand what waterways walleye use to move in and out of the Saginaw Bay.

"And this is all in an attempt to sort that out so that we understand how to make future investments in terms of habitat protection, habitat enhancement, and just manage the overall walleye population," said Fielder.

State officials have been working to restore Michigan’s walleye population since it severely declined in the middle of the twentieth century.

"And now we're just wondering, really, where are these fish, in fact, coming from there's a lot of different tributaries and reefs, and walleyes will spawn in all these different locations," said Fielder.

Fisherman who catch a tagged walleye will receive $100 if they return the fish’s transmitter.

Fielder says the Tittabawassee River is a major producer of walleye. Recent studies show the population was not severely impacted by the 2020 flood.

In the interest of transparency, we note the Michigan DNR is a financial supporter of WCMU

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