John Mullican, Fisheries Biologist
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Posted on March 11, 2014 | Permalink
Potomac River Walleye Survey and Brood Collection
Location: Potomac River
Inland Fisheries recently conducted a survey of the Potomac River Walleye fishery and collected spawning stock for the Manning Hatchery. A total of 10 female and 15 male Walleye were collected by electrofishing, transferred to a hatchery tank truck, and hauled to the hatchery where they will be spawned. The resulting fry and fingerlings will then be stocked in Maryland waters to supplement natural reproduction and maintain productive fisheries.
Recent natural yearclasses of Walleye in the Potomac have been relatively weak. To augment the natural reproduction, more than 30,000 fingerlings are scheduled to be stocked into the 44 mile stretch of the Potomac between Dam 5 near Clear Spring and Dam 3 near Harpers Ferry later this spring. The hatchery fingerlings will be marked so that biologists can identify them from naturally produced fingerlings during future surveys and determine how much the stocked fish are contributing to the fishery.
With smaller yearclasses produced in recent years, the survey found the population to be dominated by larger, older fish, including some real trophies. The majority of Walleye collected were between 18" and 21" in length. The largest Walleye collected measured 27.1 inches in length and weighed 9.4 pounds. Fishermen are reminded that in addition to the year-round 15" minimum size, a 20" maximum size limit is in effect on the Potomac mainstem from January 1 through April 15 (check page 16 of theMaryland Fishing Guide for details). This regulation protects the large females from harvest on the spawning grounds until after they have spawned.
Several nice Smallmouth Bass were also observed during the survey. With river temperatures now climbing into the 40s, bass fishing should really begin to pick up. Most bass came from shoreline or island current breaks as well as behind ledges.