The DNR will survey Sylvan Lake in Noble County this year to estimate the number of anglers who fish there and the number of fish they catch.
The number and size of walleyes taken from the 669-acre impoundment will be of special interest to DNR biologists.
“We have stocked nearly 150,000 walleye fingerlings in Sylvan Lake since 2001 at a cost of $225,000,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. “We need to take a good look at how fishermen are benefiting from that investment.”
Survival of walleyes in Sylvan has been exceptional, based on samplings conducted by Pearson each fall to assess the stockings. Anglers, too, report plenty of walleyes in the lake.
“But we don’t have a current measure of walleye fishing interest and walleye harvest,” Pearson said.
To estimate the amount of walleye fishing, a DNR creel clerk will be stationed at the lake periodically from late April through October. The clerk will interview anglers and inspect their catch.
“We did a similar survey seven years ago at Sylvan,” Pearson said. “At that time, we estimated only 650 walleyes were harvested. Now that more adult walleyes are present in the lake and more fishermen know about them, we expect the harvest figure to be much higher.”
The survey also will provide baseline information should walleye regulations be adjusted in the future. Biologists are considering increasing the current 14-inch minimum size limit at some northern Indiana lakes where walleyes are stocked annually to improve fishing.
“In theory, a larger size limit should result in greater numbers of bigger walleyes,” Pearson said.
In addition to walleye fishing, the survey will provide information on the overall quality of fishing at Sylvan, including the lake’s most popular species: largemouth bass and bluegills.
Sylvan Lake is in Rome City. A DNR public access site is in the southwest corner of the lake.