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Upstream Passage of Walleye


Dr. Christopher Bunt with a Large Walleye used in a telemetry study at the vertical-slot fishway located at the DOW chemical dam on the Tittabawassee River in Midland Michigan

Many fishways appear to be ineffective for passing walleye.  Possible reasons for this were investigated using radiotelemetric studies at the Dunnville fishway, on the Grand River.  During the spring of 1999, a field study was conducted a the Caledonia dam (upstream from the Dunnville dam), to evaluate several proposed Denil fishway designs, as well as proper fishway placement to ensure maximum passage of walleye.  

DOW Chemical Dam vertical-slot fishway, Tittabawassee River, Midland Michigan  Caledonia dam and Denil Fishway on the Grand River  DOW Chemical Dam vertical-slot fishway, Tibbabawassee River, Midland Michigan

In September 1999 and April 2002, Biotactic Inc. was contracted by The Dow Chemical Company to examine a vertical-slot fishway on the Tittabawassee River, in Midland, Michigan. The objective of the study was to evaluate the potential for improved walleye (Sander vitreus) passage, while minimizing the transfer of sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) through the fishway.  Several recommendations were developed including temporal management strategies to improve walleye passage, structural modifications to enhance fish attraction, and a monitoring program to evaluate improvements in fishway efficacy.  A significant proportion of springtime migrants will continue past the Dow dam, with the development of a fishway that effectively passes walleye. Ultimately, this may help restore natural spawning as well as river resident populations in 180 km (112 miles) throughout the four river systems upstream from the Dow dam.

Videos of fish in the fishway at the DOW Chemical Dam, Midland, Michigan.

April 12 2001 - rainbow trout and sucker spp. ascending the fishway
March 29 2001
- walleye exiting the fishway after a failed attempt to ascend

We have been actively surveying walleye in the Grand River and the Welland River system (with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority) continuously since 2001 - click HERE for more.


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