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Otsego Lake Lake Trout Netting (2010)

The 4,200 acre Otsego Lake was recently netted for the 23rd time since 1969 to monitor the abundance of lake trout. The wild population in the lake is supplemented with the stocking of approximately 5,000 yearling lake trout annually. A total of 52 lake trout between 6.9 and 29.2 inches were collected for an average catch of 8.7 fish per net. This was down significantly from the record catch of 21.2 fish per net recorded in 2008 and the 20.8 fish per net recorded in 2006. The 8.7 fish per net recorded in 2010 was the lowest recorded in the 11 nettings since 1999 and was largely due to the absence of fish < 15 in (small fish). Only six lake trout less than 15 inches were collected for an average catch of 1.0 small fish per net. The previous low of 1.7 small fish per net was recorded in 1969. After 1986, alewives were illegally introduced into Otsego Lake. In the 10 nettings between 1992 and 2008, the catch of lake trout less than 15 inches ranged from 3.7 to 11.4 small fish per net with an average of 7.6 fish per net. The last netting in 2008 averaged 10.5 lake trout per net less than 15 inches. The record low abundance of 1.0 small fish per net is of concern and the cause of this decline is not known. The most likely cause is cannibalism by larger lake trout. The absence of stocked yearling lake trout also supports this theory. If the catch of small lake trout remains very low in the 2012 netting, it will be recommended that the year round salmonid fishery, primarily lake trout, be ended and the season changed to the statewide April 1-October 15 trout season.

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