Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Applying research agendas to sport fishing


As one of the most highly prized game fish in the upper Midwest, muskellunge (also known as muskies) and northern pike help support a $20 billion sport fishing industry. Facing declines in natural reproduction, a team of scientists, including a Michigan State University inland fisheries researcher, has developed a list of research and management needs to help keep the fish -- and the industry -- thriving.

'Muskies and northern pike are the largest predatory fishes in this region, making them high-profile fisheries,' explained Joe Nohner, doctoral student in fisheries at the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. 'By supporting strong pike and muskellunge populations, we can provide better fishing opportunities and a strong recreational fishing industry.'

Two adult muskie engage in their courtship dance in a northern Wisconsin lake.

Courtesy of Joe Nohner/ MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability

Working with scientists from across the region, Nohner helped prioritize research and management needs for muskie and northern pike, including:

  • Identifying and conserving the fishes' spawning habitats
  • Improving knowledge and management of the effects of fishing on trophy-sized fish
  • Understanding how stocking and fishing influence the genetic makeup of these fish populations

According to Nohner, most of the past research and management programs have focused on adult fish and protection from overfishing. While managers and anglers focus on adult fish populations, some fisheries have been undercut by declining natural reproduction. Fish populations have been kept up through stocking, so in many areas the fishery isn't self-sustaining.

'We believe we need a more holistic approach to managing these fishes,' Nohner said. 'We want to include genetics, habitat needs at all life stages, and include the effects of humans in the equation. It's somewhat daunting, but new technologies will help us meet the challenge.'

Nohner has started tackling part of the challenge himself, creating a computer mapping technique to predict the location of muskie spawning habitats.

By studying 28 lakes in northern Wisconsin, he and his colleague found that muskies preferred spawning in bays with moderately sloping lake bottoms and that the fish also preferred not to spawn along shorelines with houses or other development.

'Lakes with more development are less likely to be muskie spawning habitats,' Nohner said. 'Fisheries managers, county commissioners and lakeshore property owners may have to consider where development is located and how that will affect the fish.

'We found that muskie spawning site selection may be more complex than previously thought,' he continued. 'There is not just one particular characteristic that makes the fish gravitate to an area for spawning. There seem to be several factors that affect the location, which is why we need a modelling program to help identify those critical habitats.'


The paper 'Muskellunge and northern pike ecology and management: important issues and research needs' is published in the June issue of Fisheries. Besides Nohner, other authors are Derek Crane, John Farrell and Kevin Kapuscinski, of the State University of New York-Syracuse; Loren Miller, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; James Diana, of the University of Michigan; and John Casselman, of Queen's University.

The paper 'Muskellunge spawning site selection in northern Wisconsin and a GIS-based predictive model' is published in the February issue of the North American journal of Fisheries Management. Nohner and Diana are the authors. The research was funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan and the Alvan Macauley Fellowship.

The Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability integrates ecology with socioeconomics, demography and other disciplines to conduct cutting-edge research on ecological sustainability on local, national and global scales.

Media Contact

Sue Nichols


Sue Nichols | EurekAlert!

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>