US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
North Temperate Lakes LTER: Fish Abundance 1981 - current


This data set is a derived data set based on fish catch data. Data are collected annually to enable us to track the fish assemblages of eleven primary lakes (Allequash, Big Muskellunge, Crystal, Sparkling, Trout, bog lakes 27-02 [Crystal Bog] and 12-15 [Trout Bog], Mendota, Monona, Wingra and Fish). Sampling on Lakes Monona, Wingra, and Fish started in 1995; sampling on other lakes started in 1981. Sampling is done at six littoral zone sites per lake with seine, minnow or crayfish traps, and fyke nets; a boat-mounted electrofishing system samples three littoral transects. Vertically hung gill nets are used to obtain two pelagic samples per lake from the deepest point. A trammel net samples across the thermocline at two sites per lake. In the bog lakes only fyke nets and minnow traps are deployed. Parameters measured include species-level identification and lengths for all fish caught, and weight and scale samples from a subset. Derived data sets include species richness, catch per unit effort, and size distribution by species, lake, and year. Dominant species vary from lake to lake. Perch, rockbass, and bluegill are common, with walleye, large and smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskellunge as major piscivores. Cisco have been present in the pelagic waters of four lakes, and the exotic species, rainbow smelt, is present in two. The bog lakes contain mudminnows. Protocol used to generate data: Day seines were only used in 1981 and have been eliminated from this data set to make sampling effort across years comparable. Number caught for each species is summed over repetitions of a gear within a lake and over depth. The absence of a species in a given lake/year indicates none were caught and the catch per unit effort is zero. For information on fish stocking by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resouces in LTER lakes in Dane and Vilas counties, see
The only sampling done in 2020 were a single gill-netting replicate in Sparkling, Crystal, and Trout lakes.
Sampling Frequency: annually. Number of sites: 11.
Dataset ID

Data Citation Suggestion

Magnuson, J.J., S.R. Carpenter, and E.H. Stanley. 2021. North Temperate Lakes LTER: Fish Abundance 1981 - current ver 39. Environmental Data Initiative. Accessed 2021-10-24.

Data Download

North Temperate Lakes LTER: Fish Abundance