Seasonal movements of lake trout, lake whitefish and northern pike in a small northern Shield lake.
Principal Investigator: Dick, Terry A. (3)
Licence Number: 13856
Organization: University of Manitoba
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004
Issued: Jun 14, 2005

Project Description: The objective of this research is to study what lake trout, whitefish and pike eat and their movements in a small northern Shield lake (Chitty Lake).

Transportation of personnel and equipment into and out of Chitty Lake will be by single engine float plane (Air Tindi). During this study, the researchers will use standardized gill nets, a backpack electroshocker, a seine net, VEMCO acoustic transmitters, VEMCO VR2 acoustic receivers, and surgical equipment (scalpel, needle drivers, scissors and sutures).

Samples of lake trout, lake whitefish and northern pike will be taken in order to record weight and length, and to take ageing structures, tissue sample and viscera. The flesh of the fish and viscera will be examined for parasites and measurements will be taken from gonads, visceral fat, stomach and liver to study energy partitioning in the fish. Stomach contents will be identified and recorded. Nine-spine sticklebacks will be sampled using a seine net or a backpack electroshocker. The researchers will take 25 lake trout, 25 whitefish, 25 northern pike and 500 nine-spine sticklebacks.

Fish for the movement study will also be captured using gill nets. Fish will be implanted with an acoustic transmitter (from VEMCO) that will be 8.3 cm long and weigh 12 grams in water. It is estimated that individual operations to implant the transmitter should take no more than ten minutes each. The fish is then allowed to recover in a contained area, so observations can be made until it is ready for release. The procedure for the abdominal operation has been approved by the University of Manitoba Animal Care Committee. Several transmitters will be outfitted to record the depth at which the fish is located and the temperature of the water in which it is swimming. VEMCO VR2 receivers will be placed throughout the lake for complete coverage.

Results will be provided to concerned communities by an annual report detailing all activities. Further results can be communicated by a poster summarizing major findings that can be generated specifically for the community or agency.
The study will be conducted at Chitty Lake, about 45 kilometers north of Yellowknife, from June 22 to October 31, 2005.