Lake Niapenco Sport Fish Population Estimates: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, White Crappie, Black Crappie, Northern Pike and Walleye
The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) contracted Biotactic to conduct a fish community and population study at the Binbrook Conservation Area (Lake Niapenco), Binbrook, Ontario. The main objective of the project was to perform a mark-recapture study to produce statistically valid estimates of the sizes of fish populations within the reservoir, as well as to determine the current species inventory, relative abundance and community structure with a focus on the sport fish community. Extensive fisheries sampling was conducted in the summer and fall of 2017 using boat and backpack electrofishing, trap nets (box and fyke) and trammel nets. Overall, 1986 fish (1953 unique individuals) were captured, across nineteen fish species. A total of 33 fish were recaptured. Various techniques were used to estimate population sizes from the collected data including Petersen, Schnabel and Jolly-Seber methods and their derivatives; however, Schnabel estimates were considered to be the most accurate and were produced by factoring in the greatest amount of the mark-recapture data. Extrapolating adult population estimates to total population size based on published size class structure information for each species, the total number of sport fish individuals within Lake Niapenco was 27149 (summed 95% CI: 13147-59465): 76% White Crappie, 12% Largemouth Bass, 7% Black Crappie, 5% Smallmouth Bass and 0% Northern Pike.