US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Biocomplexity Project: Sparkling Lake Smelt Removal

Setting Nets
  1. Set nets in areas of high catch first, moving clockwise around the lake.
  2. GPS location of net
  3. Record dates in that location
  4. Number nets consecutively from first net set. (Nets do not need to be pulled in order they were set.) If a net is moved, keep the same number and add an a, b, c, etc after.
  5. Sketch net location on a map with the net number (keep with In-Boat data sheets)
Pulling Nets
  1. Take

Landscape Postition Project: Fish

Fish Sampling
Fish sampling was conducted on each lake at least one month after thermal stratification had taken place, beginning on the 3rd week in June and running through the 3rd week in July. This was done to minimize the effects of winter stress and spawning on fish weight given their length. Several gears were employed to estimate fish diversity in each lake, each being effective at catching a different set of fishes.
Vertical gillnets were employed to sample pelagic fishes.

Fish Sampling

SAMPLING SITES
The same sampling sites are used each year. All sampling occurs between the 3rd week of July and Labor Day. Lakes are sampled in the following order: Trout, Allequash, Crystal, Big Muskellunge, Sparkling, Crystal Bog, Trout Bog, Wingra, Fish, Monona, Mendota. Sites for fyke nets, trammel nets and night seining sites were chosen by random process in 1981 for the Northern Highland State Forest lakes (Trout, Big Muskellunge, Allequash, Crystal, Sparkling).

North Temperate Lakes LTER: Pelagic Prey - Sonar Data 2001 - current

Abstract
Total pelagic fish abundance data were collected annually in mid-summer using sonar along a set of transects in each of eight lakes (Allequash, Big Muskellunge, Crystal, Sparkling, Trout, Mendota, Monona, and Fish), from 1981-1999, and in Lakes Monona and Fish from 1995-1999. This data is not available online (contact gahler@wisc.edu). No data was collected in 2000.

In 2001, collection resumed on Crystal, Sparkling, and Trout. In 2005, collection resumed on Lake Mendota. This data is included in this dataset as CSV files. The data represent lake-wide density estimates for abundant pelagic prey species in each lake. The sampling on each lake was conducted in depths greater than 5 meters to avoid hazards to equipment. In addition, because of the near field acoustic effects, the upper 2 meters of the water column is not represented in the data. Although they were rare, large targets representing predatory species were excluded from the density estimation for pelagic prey species using the proportion of large targets identified during single target analysis on each lake. Densities for Sparkling, Crystal and Mendota are for the entire basin of each lake. The data shown for Trout Lake represent densities in only the south basin. Number of sites: 4
Core Areas
Dataset ID
115
Date Range
-
LTER Keywords
Maintenance
ongoing
Metadata Provider
Methods
Sonar Sampling Protocol and Data Generation From 1981-1994, pelagic fish abundance data were collected along a set of transects in each of six lakes (Allequash, Big Muskellunge, Crystal, Sparkling, Trout, Mendota) using a Simrad 70 khz EY-M echosounder. The transducer was attached to a 4 aluminum towbody suspended in front of the boat and deployed at a speed of approximately 3-4 knots. Transects were run on two nights and two days in late summer in each year such that they intersected the deepest portions of each lake. The returning acoustic signal was recorded on audio tape (until ~ 1989) or DAT tapes (from ~ 1989-1994), as well as on paper charts. The recorded signal was analyzed with the deconvolution program developed by C.S. Clay (Rudstam et al. 1987, Stanton and Clay 1986, Jacobson et al. 1990) and with the HADAS post processing package by Torfinn Lindem (Lindem 1993, Rudstam et al. 1988) to estimate fish densities, by size, for each discrete depth in the lake. Most of the information collected from 1981 to 1989 was collected without recording the gain setting on the audio tapes and some tapes were recorded with too low gain resulting in too high signal to noise ratios. This made post processing difficult, however some data could be recovered by using the target strength of the dominant fish species to scale the recordings. Lars Rudstam analyzed data prior to 1989 using target strength estimated from fish caught in gillnets to calibrate the sonar information. Data and information was published on Trout Lake for 1983 and 1985 (Jacobson et al. 1990), Trout and Muskellunge Lakes for 1981 (Rudstam et al. 1987), on Mendota for 1981 to 1989 (Rudstam et al. 1993) and expanded to 1991 in DeStasio et al. (1995). For Crystal Lake, Rudstam generated data from 1981-1988 while Hrabik analyzed information from 1989-1995 (Sanderson et al. 1999). In 1995, the Simrad EY-M echosounder ceased to work reliably. In 1996, the LTER project purchased an HTI Model 241 echosounder with a 120 kHz split beam configuration. This echosounder was deployed in the manner described above on (Allequash, Big Muskellunge, Crystal, Sparkling, Trout, Mendota, Monona, and Fish Lakes). Ecoscape post-processing software, produced by HTI, was used to post-process data. Data were archived in the output format from HTI sounder software v. 1.0 and raw acoustic signals were stored on digital audio tapes. Prior to post processing of all HTI data, however, the computer containing the Ecoscape software ceased to work. No computer was purchased to replace it and the analysis, in 1998-9, also ceased. However, all the raw acoustic information is archived on digital audio tapes and processed on the HTI sounder software output files. After the laptop that operated the HTI system failed, there were no funds offered to replace it. No information was collected in 2000 because there was no laptop. Thus, there have been two major changes in analysis methods over time. The first was a change in single beam methods from the C.S. Clays deconvolution method to T. Lindems HADAS system. Rudstam et al (1988) found the two methods comparable. The second change involved switching from single beam analysis to split beam, from a 70kHz frequency to 120kHz and from Simrad to HTI and later Biosonics. Rudstam et al. (1999a) compared the single beam HADAS analysis using 70kHz (Simrad EYorM, HADAS analysis), split beam 70kHz (Simrad EY500, EP500 analysis) and split beam 120 kHz (Simrad EY500, EP500 analysis) for rainbow smelt in Lake Erie. Differences in density estimates and average target strengths were not large although there was a bias in the HADAS approach to single beam derived average target strength of 0.8dB (Rudstam et al. 1999a). Rudstam et al (1999b) reviewed the single beam methods in general and Mason and Schaner (2001) has compared data from the Biosonics, Simrad, and HTI units for smelt in Lake Champlain. From 2001-2003, sonar data was collected on Trout, Sparkling and Crystal Lakes using a Biosonics DT-6000 Echosounder with a 120kHz split beam transducer (T. Hrabik). Post-processing was performed using Echoview (SonarData Inc.) analysis software. In 2004, a Biosonics DT-X echosounder with a 70 kHz split beam transducer was used on Trout and Sparkling Lakes (T. Hrabik). No information was collected on Crystal Lake (the generator made too much noise in 2003 and caused a response from Law Enforcement). The information collected by Hrabik between 2001 and 2004 is currently being analyzed to generate aggregated lake-wide and 200 m transect-level fish size and density estimates (which can be converted into biomass and biomass by species using gillnet information) as well as transect-level data stratified at a 1m vertical depth resolution.Data Correction:December 2013: an error was detected for data from Sparkling Lake for the year 2004. Erroneous data have been replaced with corrected data in the metadata version 10 and data version v3.January 2014: an error was detected for data from Trout Lake for the year 2012. Erroneous data have been replaced with corrected data in the medatadata version 11 and data version v4. Literature cited DeStasio, B. J., L. G. Rudstam, A. Haning, P. Soranno, and Y. Allen. 1995. An in situ test of the effects of food quality on Daphnia population growth. Hydrobiologia 307:221-230. Jacobson, P. T., C.S. Clay, and J.J. Magnuson. 1990. Size, distribution, and abundance of pelagic fish by deconvolution of single beam acoustic data. Rapp. P.-v. Reun. Cons. int. Explor. Mer 189:304-311. Lindem, T. 1983. Successes with conventional in situ determination of fish target strength. FAO Fish. Rep. 300:104-111. Lindem, T. 1990. Hydro acoustic data acquisition system HADAS. Instruction manual. Lindem data acquisition Lda, Oslo. Lindem, T., and D. A. Houari. 1988. Hydro acoustic data acquisition system HADAS. mimoegraphed report. Lindeman, R. L. 1942. The trophic dynamic aspect of ecology. Ecology 23:157-176. Mason, D. M., and T. Schaner. 2001. Final report to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commisison for the acoustics intercalibration exercise in 1999. Rudstam, L. G., C. S. Clay, and J. J. Magnuson. 1987. Density and size estimates of cisco, Coregonus artedii using analysis of echo peak a single transducer sonar. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 44:811-821. Rudstam, L. G., S. Hansson, T. Lindem, and D. W. Einhouse. 1999. Comparison of target strength distributions and fish densities obtained with split and single beam echo sounders. Fisheries Research 42:207-214. Rudstam, L. G., T. Lindem, and S. Hansson. 1988. Density and in situ target strength of herring and sprat: a comparison between two methods of analyzing single beam sonar data. Fisheries Research 6:305-315. Rudstam, L. G., T. Lindem, and G. LaBar. 1999. The single beam analysis. Pages 6-13 in E. Ona, editor. Methodology for target strength measurements (with special reference to in situ techniques for fish and micronekton). International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Copenhagen. Sanderson, B. L., T. R. Hrabik, et al. 1999. Cyclic dynamics of a yellow perch (Perca flavescens) population in an oligotrophic lake: evidence for the role of intraspecific interactions. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 56: 1534-42. Stanton, T. K., and C. S. Clay. 1986. Sonar echo statistics as a remote-sensing tool: volume and seafloor. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering OE-11:79-96.
Short Name
NTLFI04
Version Number
32

North Temperate Lakes LTER: Fish Species Richness 1981 - current

Abstract
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. Species richness for a lake is the number of fish species caught in that lake during the annual fish sampling. Hybrids captured are only included in the richness value if neither of the two hybridized species are caught in the lake that year. Fish identified only to genus or higher taxonomic level are not included if any fish identified to species within that genus or higher taxonomic level are caught. E.g., Unidentified Chub would be only included in the richness value if no other chub is caught in that lake that year. Sampling Frequency: annually. Number of sites: 11
Note that 2020 data does not exist due to insufficient sampling. In 2021, sampling in Fish Lake was suspended due to significant lake level changes.
Core Areas
Dataset ID
245
Date Range
-
Maintenance
ongoing
Metadata Provider
Methods
The same sampling sites are used each year. All sampling occurs between the 3rd week of July and Labor Day. Sampling sites were chosen by random process in 1981 for the Northern lakes (Trout, Allequash, Sparkling, Crystal, and Big Muskellunge). Sites for Lake Mendota were chosen in 1981, and for the other Madison lakes (Monona, Fish, and Wingra) in 1995. All sites are identified with GPS coordinates, except on the bog lakes (Trout Bog and Crystal Bog) where nets are placed equal distances apart around the entire circumference of the lake in approximately the same locations each year.

Night seining is conducted on 6 seine sites per lake, each consisting of 100 meters of shoreline. Prior to 1997 this was subdivided into 3 seine hauls, each covering 33 meters. In 1997, seine hauls were reduced to 2 hauls of 33m each. The final section of the site is used as an alternate seine site in the event of difficulty in one of the first two hauls.
The seine used is 12.2 m long by 1.2 m deep, consisting of two 5.5 x 1.2 m wings surrounding a 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 m central bag. The wings are made of 6.4 mm stretch measure knitted delta-strength nylon mesh, and the bag is of 3.2 mm delta strength nylon mesh. The entire net is tarred. The two wings and the opening to the bag have weighted foot ropes and buoyed head ropes. An 8m length of rope is tied between the seine poles as a guide for the maximum spread of the seine.

A trammel net is set at two sites in each lake, and fished for approximately 24 hours at each site. The net is set on the bottom, along a line perpendicular to the shoreline and crossing the thermocline, with the shallow end at about 3m depth,. The trammel net used is 30.5 m long and 1.1 m deep. It consists of two outer nets of 170 mm square 32 kg test mesh multifilament nylon with an inner panel of 51 mm stretch mesh 9 kg test multifilament nylon. The three nets are connected at the leaded foot line and the buoyed head rope.

Fyke nets are deployed at six littoral sampling sites in each lake, and fished for approximately 24 hours. In Crystal Bog and Trout Bog lakes the fyke nets are suspended by placing floats on the hoops and frames to prevent the nets from sinking into the sediments. For the northern lakes, each fyke net is approximately 12 m long and consists of two rectangular steel frames 90 cm wide by 75 cm high and 4 steel hoops, all covered by 7 mm delta stretch mesh nylon netting. An 8 m long by 1.25 m deep leader net made of 7 mm delta stretch mesh nylon netting is attached to a center bar of the first rectangular frame (net mouth). The second rectangular frame has two 10 cm wide by 70 cm high openings, one on each side of the frame center bar. The four hoops follow the second frame. Throats 10 cm in diameter are located between the second and third hoops. The net ends in a bag with a 20.4 cm opening at the end, which is tied shut while the net is fishing. New nets of the same dimensions were purchased for the Northern Highland lakes in 2000. Fyke nets for the Madison lakes are 10 m long (including lead) with 1 rectangular aluminum frame followed by 2 aluminum hoops. The aluminum frame is 98 cm wide x 82 cm tall, and is constructed of 2.5 cm tubing, with an additional center vertical bar. The hoops are 60 cm in diameter and constructed of 5 mm diameter aluminum rod. The single net funnel is between the first and second hoops and is 20 cm in diameter. The lead is 8 m long and 1.25m deep, constructed from 7mm delta stretch mesh.

Crayfish traps are set on all lakes except the bog lakes (Crystal Bog and Trout Bog). Minnow traps are set only on the bog lakes. Prior to 1998, five traps were set at each fyke net site. Beginning 1998, three traps are set per site. Minnow traps and crayfish traps are set in shallow water (approx 1 m), 2 traps on one side, and 1 trap on the other side of the fyke net lead. Minnow traps are baited with 1 slice of bread, and crayfish traps with 120 g of beef liver. Traps are fished for approximately 24 hours. Crayfish are identified to species. Minnows caught in either crayfish or minnow traps are identified to species, and measured for total length. Minnow traps are galvanized steel two piece traps, 44.5 cm long by 30.5 cm maximum diameter with 2.5 cm diameter openings at the ends. The mesh size is 6.4 mm on a side. Crayfish traps are identical, but the opening hole of both sides of the trap has been forced to 5 to 7 cm. Crayfish sampling was terminated for the southern lakes in 2004 after it was determined that the catch per unit effort was too low (2 crayfish caught in 500+ traps)

Gill nets are set at the deepest point of all LTER lakes except Crystal Bog, Trout Bog, and Fish Lake. The nets are set for two consecutive 24 hour sets. The gill nets are a set of 7 nets, each in a different mesh size, hung vertically on foam rollers from the surface to the bottom of the lake, and chained together in a line. Each net is 4 m wide and 33 m long. From 1981 through 1990 the nets were multifilament mesh, in stretched mesh sizes of 19, 25, 32, 38, 51, 64, and 89 mm. In 1991, the multifilament nets were replaced with monofilament nets of the same sizes. Stretcher bars are installed at 10 meter intervals from the bottom to keep the net as rectangular as possible when deployed.

A boom style electrofishing system is used to sample the littoral zone fish community. Prior to 1997, four electrofishing transects were done on each lake. In 1997, the number of transects was reduced to 3. The same transects are used each year. Each transect consists of 30 minutes of current output, with the boat moving parallel to shore in 1-2 meters of water at a slow steady speed. We use the DC pulse system, with 240 volts at 3-5 amps. Transect lengths vary depending upon the size of the lake. If the end of a transect is reached before 30 minutes has elapsed, time is paused while the electrofisher loops back to the start of the transect. The transect is then repeated for the remaining time.

For all collecting methods, the fish are processed as follows. Each individual fish is identified to species. The total length of the fish is measured in mm, from nose to pinched tail. Prior to 1997, the weight of the first five fish of each species in each 10 mm size category was also measured, using Pesola spring balances. Starting in 1997, two fish are weighed for each species in each 5mm size category. A scale sample is collected from each yellow perch, rock bass, and cisco that is weighed. For gill net catches, the depth at which each individual is caught is also recorded.

Protocol Log. 1983: Discontinued fyke nets and trammel nets on Lake Mendota until 1995. 1984: Discontinued crayfish on Lake Mendota until 1995. Only gillnet and seines on Lake Mendota.1995: Resumed sampling Lake Mendota with the full suite of sampling gear. 1995: Began sampling Lakes Wingra, Monona, and Fish. 1997: Two fish are weighed for each fish species in each 5mm size category. Previously, five fish were weighed for each fish species in each 10mm size category. 1997: Data recording switched from manual field sheets to an electronic system. 1997: Changed from 4 to 3 electrofishing runs per lake. 1997: Changed from 18 to 12 seine hauls per lake. 1998: Changed from 30 to 18 crayfish or minnow traps per lake. 2004: Discontinued crayfish or minnow traps on southern lakes. 2020: Fish sampling very limited due to pandemic. 2021: Discontinued all night seining.
Short Name
NTLFI05
Version Number
25

North Temperate Lakes LTER: Fish Lengths and Weights 1981 - current

Abstract
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 four 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. 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 an exotic species, rainbow smelt, is present in two. The bog lakes contain mudminnows.
The only sampling done in 2020 were a single gill-netting replicate in Sparkling, Crystal, and Trout lakes. Sampling in Fish Lake was suspended in 2021 due to significant lake level changes.
Sampling Frequency: annually Number of sites: 11.
Core Areas
Dataset ID
6
Date Range
-
LTER Keywords
Maintenance
ongoing.
Metadata Provider
Methods
The same sampling sites are used each year. All sampling occurs between the 3rd week of July and Labor Day. Sampling sites were chosen by random process in 1981 for the Northern lakes (Trout, Allequash, Sparkling, Crystal, and Big Muskellunge). Sites for Lake Mendota were chosen in 1981, and for the other Madison lakes (Monona, Fish, and Wingra) in 1995. All sites are identified with GPS coordinates, except on the bog lakes (Trout Bog and Crystal Bog) where nets are placed equal distances apart around the entire circumference of the lake in approximately the same locations each year.

Night seining is conducted on 6 seine sites per lake, each consisting of 100 meters of shoreline. Prior to 1997 this was subdivided into 3 seine hauls, each covering 33 meters. In 1997, seine hauls were reduced to 2 hauls of 33m each. The final section of the site is used as an alternate seine site in the event of difficulty in one of the first two hauls.
The seine used is 12.2 m long by 1.2 m deep, consisting of two 5.5 x 1.2 m wings surrounding a 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 m central bag. The wings are made of 6.4 mm stretch measure knitted delta-strength nylon mesh, and the bag is of 3.2 mm delta strength nylon mesh. The entire net is tarred. The two wings and the opening to the bag have weighted foot ropes and buoyed head ropes. An 8m length of rope is tied between the seine poles as a guide for the maximum spread of the seine.

A trammel net is set at two sites in each lake, and fished for approximately 24 hours at each site. The net is set on the bottom, along a line perpendicular to the shoreline and crossing the thermocline, with the shallow end at about 3m depth,. The trammel net used is 30.5 m long and 1.1 m deep. It consists of two outer nets of 170 mm square 32 kg test mesh multifilament nylon with an inner panel of 51 mm stretch mesh 9 kg test multifilament nylon. The three nets are connected at the leaded foot line and the buoyed head rope.

Fyke nets are deployed at six littoral sampling sites in each lake, and fished for approximately 24 hours. In Crystal Bog and Trout Bog lakes the fyke nets are suspended by placing floats on the hoops and frames to prevent the nets from sinking into the sediments. For the northern lakes, each fyke net is approximately 12 m long and consists of two rectangular steel frames 90 cm wide by 75 cm high and 4 steel hoops, all covered by 7 mm delta stretch mesh nylon netting. An 8 m long by 1.25 m deep leader net made of 7 mm delta stretch mesh nylon netting is attached to a center bar of the first rectangular frame (net mouth). The second rectangular frame has two 10 cm wide by 70 cm high openings, one on each side of the frame center bar. The four hoops follow the second frame. Throats 10 cm in diameter are located between the second and third hoops. The net ends in a bag with a 20.4 cm opening at the end, which is tied shut while the net is fishing. New nets of the same dimensions were purchased for the Northern Highland lakes in 2000. Fyke nets for the Madison lakes are 10 m long (including lead) with 1 rectangular aluminum frame followed by 2 aluminum hoops. The aluminum frame is 98 cm wide x 82 cm tall, and is constructed of 2.5 cm tubing, with an additional center vertical bar. The hoops are 60 cm in diameter and constructed of 5 mm diameter aluminum rod. The single net funnel is between the first and second hoops and is 20 cm in diameter. The lead is 8 m long and 1.25m deep, constructed from 7mm delta stretch mesh.

Crayfish traps are set on all lakes except the bog lakes (Crystal Bog and Trout Bog). Minnow traps are set only on the bog lakes. Prior to 1998, five traps were set at each fyke net site. Beginning 1998, three traps are set per site. Minnow traps and crayfish traps are set in shallow water (approx 1 m), 2 traps on one side, and 1 trap on the other side of the fyke net lead. Minnow traps are baited with 1 slice of bread, and crayfish traps with 120 g of beef liver. Traps are fished for approximately 24 hours. Crayfish are identified to species. Minnows caught in either crayfish or minnow traps are identified to species, and measured for total length. Minnow traps are galvanized steel two piece traps, 44.5 cm long by 30.5 cm maximum diameter with 2.5 cm diameter openings at the ends. The mesh size is 6.4 mm on a side. Crayfish traps are identical, but the opening hole of both sides of the trap has been forced to 5 to 7 cm. Crayfish sampling was terminated for the southern lakes circa 2004 after it was determined that the catch per unit effort was too low (2 crayfish caught in 500+ traps).

Gill nets are set at the deepest point of all LTER lakes except Crystal Bog, Trout Bog, and Fish Lake. The nets are set for two consecutive 24 hour sets. The gill nets are a set of 7 nets, each in a different mesh size, hung vertically on foam rollers from the surface to the bottom of the lake, and chained together in a line. Each net is 4 m wide and 33 m long. From 1981 through 1990 the nets were multifilament mesh, in stretched mesh sizes of 19, 25, 32, 38, 51, 64, and 89 mm. In 1991, the multifilament nets were replaced with monofilament nets of the same sizes. Stretcher bars are installed at 10 meter intervals from the bottom to keep the net as rectangular as possible when deployed.

A boom style electrofishing system is used to sample the littoral zone fish community. Prior to 1997, four electrofishing transects were done on each lake. In 1997, the number of transects was reduced to 3. The same transects are used each year. Each transect consists of 30 minutes of current output, with the boat moving parallel to shore in 1-2 meters of water at a slow steady speed. We use the DC pulse system, with 240 volts at 3-5 amps. Transect lengths vary depending upon the size of the lake. If the end of a transect is reached before 30 minutes has elapsed, time is paused while the electrofisher loops back to the start of the transect. The transect is then repeated for the remaining time.

For all collecting methods, the fish are processed as follows. Each individual fish is identified to species. The total length of the fish is measured in mm, from nose to pinched tail. Prior to 1997, the weight of the first five fish of each species in each 10 mm size category was also measured, using Pesola spring balances. Starting in 1997, two fish are weighed for each species in each 5mm size category. A scale sample is collected from each yellow perch, rock bass, and cisco that is weighed. For gill net catches, the depth at which each individual is caught is also recorded.

Protocol Log. 1983: Discontinued fyke nets and trammel nets on Lake Mendota until 1995. 1984: Discontinued crayfish on Lake Mendota until 1995. Only gillnet and seines on Lake Mendota.1995: Resumed sampling Lake Mendota with the full suite of sampling gear. 1995: Began sampling Lakes Wingra, Monona, and Fish. 1997: Two fish are weighed for each fish species in each 5mm size category. Previously, five fish were weighed for each fish species in each 10mm size category. 1997: Data recording switched from manual field sheets to an electronic system. 1997: Changed from 4 to 3 electro-fishing runs per lake. 1997: Changed from 18 to 12 seine hauls per lake. 1998: Changed from 30 to 18 crayfish or minnow traps per lake. 2004: Discontinued crayfish or minnow traps on southern lakes. 2020: Fish sampling very limited due to pandemic. 2021: All night seining was discontinued.
Short Name
NTLFI01
Version Number
31

North Temperate Lakes LTER: Fish Length Frequency 1981 - current

Abstract
This data set is a derived data set based on fish catch and length 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 scale samples and weight 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 small mouth basses, 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: The number of fish caught in each five mm length interval (0<length<5, 5<=length<10, etc.) have been summed over gear. In cases in which only a random subsample of fish were measured, the unmeasured fish have been assigned to the length categories based on the proportions in length categories for the measured fish of the subsample. Day seines were only used in 1981 and have been eliminated from this data set to make sampling effort across years comparable.
The only sampling done in 2020 were a single gill-netting replicate in Sparkling, Crystal, and Trout lakes. Sampling in Fish Lake was suspended in 2021 due to significant lake level changes.
Sampling Frequency: annually. Number of sites: 11
Core Areas
Dataset ID
8
Date Range
-
LTER Keywords
Maintenance
ongoing
Metadata Provider
Methods
The same sampling sites are used each year. All sampling occurs between the 3rd week of July and Labor Day. Sampling sites were chosen by random process in 1981 for the Northern lakes (Trout, Allequash, Sparkling, Crystal, and Big Muskellunge). Sites for Lake Mendota were chosen in 1981, and for the other Madison lakes (Monona, Fish, and Wingra) in 1995. All sites are identified with GPS coordinates, except on the bog lakes (Trout Bog and Crystal Bog) where nets are placed equal distances apart around the entire circumference of the lake in approximately the same locations each year.

Night seining is conducted on 6 seine sites per lake, each consisting of 100 meters of shoreline. Prior to 1997 this was subdivided into 3 seine hauls, each covering 33 meters. In 1997, seine hauls were reduced to 2 hauls of 33m each. The final section of the site is used as an alternate seine site in the event of difficulty in one of the first two hauls.
The seine used is 12.2 m long by 1.2 m deep, consisting of two 5.5 x 1.2 m wings surrounding a 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 m central bag. The wings are made of 6.4 mm stretch measure knitted delta-strength nylon mesh, and the bag is of 3.2 mm delta strength nylon mesh. The entire net is tarred. The two wings and the opening to the bag have weighted foot ropes and buoyed head ropes. An 8m length of rope is tied between the seine poles as a guide for the maximum spread of the seine.

A trammel net is set at two sites in each lake, and fished for approximately 24 hours at each site. The net is set on the bottom, along a line perpendicular to the shoreline and crossing the thermocline, with the shallow end at about 3m depth,. The trammel net used is 30.5 m long and 1.1 m deep. It consists of two outer nets of 170 mm square 32 kg test mesh multifilament nylon with an inner panel of 51 mm stretch mesh 9 kg test multifilament nylon. The three nets are connected at the leaded foot line and the buoyed head rope.

Fyke nets are deployed at six littoral sampling sites in each lake, and fished for approximately 24 hours. In Crystal Bog and Trout Bog lakes the fyke nets are suspended by placing floats on the hoops and frames to prevent the nets from sinking into the sediments. For the northern lakes, each fyke net is approximately 12 m long and consists of two rectangular steel frames 90 cm wide by 75 cm high and 4 steel hoops, all covered by 7 mm delta stretch mesh nylon netting. An 8 m long by 1.25 m deep leader net made of 7 mm delta stretch mesh nylon netting is attached to a center bar of the first rectangular frame (net mouth). The second rectangular frame has two 10 cm wide by 70 cm high openings, one on each side of the frame center bar. The four hoops follow the second frame. Throats 10 cm in diameter are located between the second and third hoops. The net ends in a bag with a 20.4 cm opening at the end, which is tied shut while the net is fishing. New nets of the same dimensions were purchased for the Northern Highland lakes in 2000. Fyke nets for the Madison lakes are 10 m long (including lead) with 1 rectangular aluminum frame followed by 2 aluminum hoops. The aluminum frame is 98 cm wide x 82 cm tall, and is constructed of 2.5 cm tubing, with an additional center vertical bar. The hoops are 60 cm in diameter and constructed of 5 mm diameter aluminum rod. The single net funnel is between the first and second hoops and is 20 cm in diameter. The lead is 8 m long and 1.25m deep, constructed from 7mm delta stretch mesh.

Crayfish traps are set on all lakes except the bog lakes (Crystal Bog and Trout Bog). Minnow traps are set only on the bog lakes. Prior to 1998, five traps were set at each fyke net site. Beginning 1998, three traps are set per site. Minnow traps and crayfish traps are set in shallow water (approx 1 m), 2 traps on one side, and 1 trap on the other side of the fyke net lead. Minnow traps are baited with 1 slice of bread, and crayfish traps with 120 g of beef liver. Traps are fished for approximately 24 hours. Crayfish are identified to species. Minnows caught in either crayfish or minnow traps are identified to species, and measured for total length. Minnow traps are galvanized steel two piece traps, 44.5 cm long by 30.5 cm maximum diameter with 2.5 cm diameter openings at the ends. The mesh size is 6.4 mm on a side. Crayfish traps are identical, but the opening hole of both sides of the trap has been forced to 5 to 7 cm. Crayfish sampling was terminated for the southern lakes in 2004 after it was determined that the catch per unit effort was too low (2 crayfish caught in 500+ traps)

Gill nets are set at the deepest point of all LTER lakes except Crystal Bog, Trout Bog, and Fish Lake. The nets are set for two consecutive 24 hour sets. The gill nets are a set of 7 nets, each in a different mesh size, hung vertically on foam rollers from the surface to the bottom of the lake, and chained together in a line. Each net is 4 m wide and 33 m long. From 1981 through 1990 the nets were multifilament mesh, in stretched mesh sizes of 19, 25, 32, 38, 51, 64, and 89 mm. In 1991, the multifilament nets were replaced with monofilament nets of the same sizes. Stretcher bars are installed at 10 meter intervals from the bottom to keep the net as rectangular as possible when deployed.

A boom style electrofishing system is used to sample the littoral zone fish community. Prior to 1997, four electrofishing transects were done on each lake. In 1997, the number of transects was reduced to 3. The same transects are used each year. Each transect consists of 30 minutes of current output, with the boat moving parallel to shore in 1-2 meters of water at a slow steady speed. We use the DC pulse system, with 240 volts at 3-5 amps. Transect lengths vary depending upon the size of the lake. If the end of a transect is reached before 30 minutes has elapsed, time is paused while the electrofisher loops back to the start of the transect. The transect is then repeated for the remaining time.

For all collecting methods, the fish are processed as follows. Each individual fish is identified to species. The total length of the fish is measured in mm, from nose to pinched tail. Prior to 1997, the weight of the first five fish of each species in each 10 mm size category was also measured, using Pesola spring balances. Starting in 1997, two fish are weighed for each species in each 5mm size category. A scale sample is collected from each yellow perch, rock bass, and cisco that is weighed. For gill net catches, the depth at which each individual is caught is also recorded.

Protocol Log. 1983: Discontinued fyke nets and trammel nets on Lake Mendota until 1995. 1984: Discontinued crayfish on Lake Mendota until 1995. Only gillnet and seines on Lake Mendota.1995: Resumed sampling Lake Mendota with the full suite of sampling gear. 1995: Began sampling Lakes Wingra, Monona, and Fish. 1997: Two fish are weighed for each fish species in each 5mm size category. Previously, five fish were weighed for each fish species in each 10mm size category. 1997: Data recording switched from manual field sheets to an electronic system. 1997: Changed from 4 to 3 electrofishing runs per lake. 1997: Changed from 18 to 12 seine hauls per lake. 1998: Changed from 30 to 18 crayfish or minnow traps per lake. 2004: Discontinued crayfish or minnow traps on southern lakes. 2020: Fish sampling very limited due to pandemic. 2021: discontinued all night seining.
Publication Date
Short Name
NTLFI03
Version Number
33
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