Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Update

The water level in Eagle Creek Reservoir has been lowering throughout the month. Additionally, four of the muskies have been determined to be dead. The remaining four muskies for most of October have been moving all over the northern half of the reservoir as the water temperature decreases. They are all being found near submerged logs in about 9 feet of water. The muskies could be around 22 inches by this point in the year and cause them to have few predators. The muskies diets are most likely consisting on young-of-year gizzard shad.

Young-of-year gizzard shad from Eagle Creek.

Also, in past few weeks some tracking has been done upstream in Eagle Creek. We launched a canoe by the 116th bridge in Zionsville and went down stream toward the reservoir. While doing this we found five additional muskies!  Most of the muskies were found around vegetation and fallen trees in 3 feet of water. They were mostly located near the 96th bridge.

Stream habitat where a muskie was found.

video
Video of tracking a muskie in Eagle Creek.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

July Through September Update

There are currently the same eight individuals in Eagle Creek Reservoir. There has been little to no movement of each fish. Therefore, there has not been much to update. However, these fish seem to have a home range and remain in the same cove if they do move at all. The fish have consistently remained in 1-3 feet of water and are all still mostly located throughout the northern half of the reservoir. They still remain near the shoreline near floating logs and timber. Previously, they were found near vegetation, however, since the seasons have begun to change and vegetation is less common, the fish are now moving towards floating logs and timber for shelter. We are still continuing to search nearby streams and areas in the park for the remaining thirty two missing fish and are venturing farther and farther out to find them. So far, we have had no luck in this search.

General locations of the eight muskie


During the month of July, we compared day and night movements of the remaining eight and found that the individuals in one foot of water did not travel far. However, the fish that were found around the three foot depth, typically moved to shore near logs and timber at night. It is my belief that because muskies are a lie and wait predator that there would be no need for them to move much between day and night. Recently, we have noticed that there are a large amount of young of the year gizzard shad, around three to four inches in length, near the locations of the muskie. Therefore, this provides a large food supply for these fish, further explaining their lack of movement. What is the point of moving if the food is all around you?

There have been some reports of people catching muskies below the dam and in the reservoir. Does anyone know of anybody catching muskies anywhere around Eagle Creek Reservoir? If so, what size and where at?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Update

The muskies have been in the same locations in the northern half of the reservoir for the past month. When I tracked by the White River earlier in the month, I was unable to pick up any of them. The same 11 individuals are still being tracked. When small patches of vegetation started to emerge some of the muskies were found in them. They are still mostly being found around floating logs. The muskies are now in around 4 to 5 feet of water because of warmer water temperatures. The surface water temperature was 79 degrees Fahrenheit last week. I will be tracking tomorrow during the day and night in order to see if there are any differences in there movements at different times of the day.

 
The vegetation where some of the muskies were found.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Welcome!

Ball State University and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are currently tracking 40 juvenile muskies in Eagle Creek Reservoir using radio tags. The battery life of each radio tag is 257 days. IDNR Southern Fisheries Research Biologist Sandy Clark-Kolaks and myself surgically implanted the tags at East Fork State Fish Hatchery in March of 2014. The muskies were provided by the IDNR and were around 12 inches in length. The muskies were stocked on March 29 at the Marina in Eagle Creek Park. Tracking will take every week during the spring and summer months of 2014.

Stocking the tagged muskies into Eagle Creek Reservoir.
 
 
Muskie with a surgically implanted radio tag.


The muskies tracked during March and April were mainly located north of 56th Street. They were mostly found near submerged and floating logs in 1 to 3 feet of water. The muskies were found in group of 4 and 5 individuals throughout the northern half of the reservoir. The first individuals were not found south of 56th Street until the first week in April. During the week of April 7th the muskies were found all over the reservoir. They were found as far north as the I-65 bridge and as far south as the dam.

Floating logs where the muskies can be found.


However, during the week of April 14th only 16 of the 40 muskies were found. There was a large amount of storms that hit Indianapolis the previous week of tracking. The water level in the reservoir was so high that water was going over the dam. I believe that the missing muskies could have went into the nearby gravel pit, upstream Eagle Creek, or went over the dam into downstream Eagle Creek because of the increased water level. As tracking went on for the next 6 weeks, the number of muskies being regularly tracked decreased to the same 9 individuals. I tracked in the gravel pit only found one muskie. I then searched up stream in Eagle Creek and did not find any. This last week Sandy Clark-Kolaks and I only tracked 4 individuals. They were all found around brush and submerged logs. We were unable to track the muskies in the northern half of the reservoir because of a rowing competition. We also tracked below the dam to see if any went over but, the creek had little water in it and no muskies were found. The plan for this coming week is track where Eagle Creek flows into the White River.