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can ya lend me a hand- walleye growth rates?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by hardwaterfan, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    Ive been cruising the net with no luck searching for a graph or data which shows the average or "acceptable" length or weight of walleye as a function of its age. Ohio or similar climate.

    anyone have a link to something like this?

    The odnr "search" sucks. Try searching for "walleye stocking" or "walleye growth" or "walleye growth rates". Heres what you get: "no documents match the query". wth?
  2. I Have A Book That Explains This If You Interested.

  3. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    thanks JIG, can you tell me the name of the book and the author?
  5. Below is some information that may give you an idea of the age of walleye with respect to length.

    Walleyes hatched during the spring months, generally April/May, will average 6-8 inches by fall (September/October); depending upon food supply and population numbers.

    According an Ohio Division of Wildlife report from 2001, the next spring, when the walleye is 1+ years old, length may average 10 1/2 inches; again, depending upon food supply, the number of walleye competing for the food supply, and upon when you may have caught it.

    Most walleye harvest occurs during the summer months, so consider most yearling walleye to average 13-14 months in age during June-July; that's where the (+) enters the picture behind the age number.
    The chart below, provided by ODNR/DOW, shows the following averages for walleye sampled from the 2001 harvest:

    1+ year old walleyes caught= 10 1/2"
    2+ year old walleyes caught= 14 1/4"
    3+ year old walleyes caught= 17 1/4"
    4+ year old walleyes caught= 18 7/8"
    5+ year old walleyes caught= 20 1/4"
    6+ year old walleyes caught= 21 1/4"
    7+ year old walleyes caught= 22 3/4"
    8+ year old walleyes caught= 24 1/4"
    9+ year old walleyes caught= 26 1/4"
    10+ year old walleyes caught=27 1/2"

    Again, remember the "+" indicates the fish measured were caught past their one year anniversary of hatch date.

    Some years when bait fish abundance is low and the walleye population is high, growth rates may be slower.

    Another fact to remember is that female walleyes will grow faster and larger than males. The chart above reflects the average of both the males and females caught. If only females were measured, the above lengths would be considerably longer. Due to the fact that the smaller, slower growing males are averaged in above, the growth rates of walleyes 3-7 years old seem to exhibit slow growth. This is because of the smaller, slower growing males are being averaged into the same sample.

    How could one measure only the females or only the males? Unless sampling is done during the spring when females are full of eggs,only by cutting the fish open to determine sex. Most anglers would not like the creel clerks doing that---unless of course they finished the job by completely filleting the fish and disposing of the remains!!!

    Past 10 years of age, it is often said that a walleye may grow approximately an inch per year; again depending upon factors such as food and population size.
    Given that assumption, that 33" monster you are seeking in Lake Erie may be around 15-16 years old!!!

    On larger walleyes, the best way to determine age is through observation of yearly growth rings (annuli) which are present on the scales; quite similar to growth rings observed on a cross section of tree trunk. This practice of aging fish from a scale sample requires a fisheries expert with experience in reading scales.

    Dean, keep in mind that Lake Erie walleye tend to "grow fast and die young" due to factors such as temperature and food abundance, as opposed to walleye found in the colder lakes of say upper Ontario; where growth is slow and they may live to a ripe old age.

    For example----In 01, our family was fishing a favorite lake in far northen Ontario (bush country) well known for large walleye. My wife managed to take a real trophy during that trip; 32.2" and 12 lbs., 14 oz.-----this fish won the northen Ontario Tourism Outfitters largest walleye contest for the year!! This monster was caught in mid August,and had she been caught during the spring, full of eggs and fat, she probably would have tipped the scales at well over 17+ pounds!

    Upon the reading of scales by a number of fishery biologists, this fish (a female,of course) was estimated to be 24-26 years old. In Lake Erie, the same fish may have been only 13-14 years old.

    Do 33"+ walleye exist in Lake Erie? Talk to some of the commercial netters and ask them about the length and weight of some walleyes caught in commercial sprintime shore seines!! There are a few out there, that's for sure, yet finding them is like looking for a specific grain of sand on the beach. And once hooked, how many anglers are really prepared to do battle with a 33" walleye which might weigh in around 15-16 pounds? Certainly not the average angler.
    Hope this provides and answer to your question.

    Dave Kelch, Associate Professor, District Specialist, Ohio Sea Grant College Program
    Ohio State University Extension

    Hope it helps
  6. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    JIG and Blue Pike, thank you very much for helping!! I was really getting frustrated there....
  7. Your Welcome! :)
  8. Lundy

    Lundy Staff Member

    In have a chart that I will send to you when I get home from my trip this week. The ODNR revised their age to length extimates big time after the 2003 PWT study that was conducted. The previous method to determine age of a walleye was to try and age the scales, it proved to be a less tha accurate science. The newer employed method is to use the Othilith, a small bone in the head of the walleye that show very precise growth rings for each year.

    28+" walleye that were once believed to be 10-12 years old are now shown to be 15+ years old.

    I sent this chart to Dean, I don't know if he posted it on his page or not.

    It is very interesting to see just how old some of these big walleye are.

  9. Lundy

    Lundy Staff Member

    I just posted the chart in the picture gallery.

    This chart was given to me by Travis Hartman, fisheries biologist, for the ODNR.

    I ran into him this morning up at Erie and we were discussing this age chart. he told me that there is some new information coming out soon. The walleye examined this year from the RCL showed walleye as old as 24 years old!

  10. Blue pike - good points about males/ females being averaged - except once they reach 24"+ 99% are females. As I said in another post trophy class fish are alot older than people realize. Now you know why there are advisories on bigger fish - at 15 year old walleye has had along time to bioaccumulate toxins. Also, next time you think of killing a trophy think of how old it is and when it was actually over 30" eye was almost certainly hatched in the mid 1980's - think about that. People routinely kill trophy class eyes and panfish because they only view them as meat fish and have no respect - these are usually the same people that kiss bass and yell if you keep a 12" bass - 100% hypocrites. If you keep a 10" bluegill it is no different than a 20"+ bass. This is what selective harvest is all about but far far too many don't understand it and do it bass ackwards or don't do it for "meat" species.