The Lake Superior fish community within Management Unit WI-2 was sampled in July 2020 with daytime bottom trawls at 11 nearshore stations. The 11 locations sampled were long-term monitoring sites that had been annually sampled since 1974. In 2020, the number of species collected at each site ranged from 0 to 13, with a mean of 6.3 and median of six. All comparisons to 2020 results were limited to past collections from Management Unit WI-2. Mean total biomass was 10.5 kg/ha which was similar to the average observed over the past 10 years (10.3 kg/ha), less than averages over the past 20 and 30-years, 15.3 and 19.8 kg/ha respectively, and higher than the average observed from 1974-84 (4.7 kg/ha). Average biomass in 2020 was highest for Bloater (6.2 kg/ha), Lake Whitefish (2.3 kg/ha), and Cisco (0.9 kg/ha). Rainbow Smelt biomass averaged 0.3 kg/ha. Year-class strength, as measured by age-1 densities, was well below the 5, 10, and 25-year averages for Bloater, Cisco, Lake Whitefish and Rainbow Smelt. Bloater averaged 1 age-1 fish/ha, Cisco, 0.2 age-1 fish/ha, Lake Whitefish, 15 age-1 fish/ha, and Rainbow Smelt 6 age-1 fish/ha. Cisco survival to age-1 has been near non-existent since the 2014- and 2015-year classes and the last moderate sized year class was in 2009. This lack of survival has yet to be adequately explained and continues to be a major concern of fishery managers due to Cisco’s importance in ecosystem dynamics and value to the commercial fishery.
|Title||Status and trends in the Lake Superior fish community, 2020|
|Authors||Mark Vinson, Lori M. Evrard, Owen Gorman, Daniel Yule|
|Publication Subtype||Organization Series|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Great Lakes Science Center|