Frequently Asked Questions
Sandusky River Walleye
Understanding dam removal impacts on a formerly prolific Great Lake’s walleye population
January 2014 - December 2022
The Sandusky River once supported one of the most productive stocks of walleye in Lake Erie, although the population has declined in recent decades. The town of Freemont, Ohio plans to remove the failing Ballville dam during 2015, which would potentially restore access to upstream spawning habitat for walleye. However, mechanisms by which walleye return to favored spawning locations is uncertain, and dam removal may negatively impact spawning walleye in the Sandusky River. For example, major changes to the river’s hydrologic conditions post-dam removal could cause walleye to look elsewhere to spawn, instead of migrating upstream to the newly available spawning habitat, or impact survival of their eggs. Walleye will be tagged with acoustic transmitters during 2014 – 2016, and spawning behavior before and after dam removal will be compared. The Ballville dam removal provides a unique opportunity to assess the response of walleye to restoring historical connectivity and help will help fisheries managers develop and prioritize management actions for this valuable resource.