NANFA-L-- Spawning Clusters Don't Lie

Crail, Todd (tcrail-in-UTNet.UToledo.Edu)
Wed, 22 Mar 2006 18:19:35 -0500

I'm excited to say:

Prairie and Langenderfer Ditches are the habitat of the Northern Pike.

This is one of the agricultural ditches in the area that I'm working on my
master's thesis, comparing morphologically heterogeneous segments (intrusion
by plants) to homogeneous segments ("cleaned" culverted portions). At best,
it's a completely trashed stream. However, we've been seeing some amazing
things in these systems since I began monitoring them 3 years ago. Namely,
the now 23 species of fish that have been found in this little ditch.

We were taking a break during our sample and were looking-in-mussel valves in
the sediments under the Bancroft bridge. I noticed something cut a wake up
the way and just watched. I then saw that it was a cluster of pike. They
came toward us, seemingly unaware of us. The two males were girding the
female like remoras, the female was about 6" longer the the bigger male, but
her body and head was twice as wide... Probably went around 4 or 5 lbs.

They were so uninterested in us, I managed to just grab one of the males with
my hands, but not having anything to put him on, he slimed his way out of my
leather dive gloves, while Ryan was running to "Get the seine! Get the
camera! Get something!!!" :) We then managed to get this second male down
stream into a seine and photograph it, fortunately. We saw another dart in a
pool further upstream, which could have been the male I dropped, or could have
been another fish. We never found the female.

I can't wait to get that block of concrete out-in-Secor to see how quickly the
lake run stuff starts coming in, as their populations have been increasing in
the lake since the introduction of the zeebs. These may have gotten around
the dam last week, but I wouldn't be suprised if they're relicts that live in
the section from Sylvania Country Club down behind the dam either on Tenmile
Creek and the Ottawa River proper.

It will also be interesting to get up into my other sample sites tomorrow,
which actually have other species utilizing the habitat over winter, whereas,
this segment is more ephemeral because of large patches of homogenity that
disallowed survival in rough years like 2005, and have yet to see the fishes
return to make use. But... We get to watch everyone come back into Prairie
and Langenderfer... And we have our first spawners of the season as the "base
line" ;)

Be the change you want to see.
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