The survival, growth and movement of Esox masquinongy transplanted from Nogies Creek sanctuary to public fishing waters

Conservationists in Ontario have been concerned for many years with the apparent decline in numbers of the maskinonge, or lunge (Esox masquinongy). A great deal of effort has been expended in artificial propagation with the aim of augmenting natural reproduction, and large numbers of fry and fingerlings have been planted throughout southern Ontario each year. In 1960, for example, approximately four million fry and fifty thousand fingerlings were reared at the provincial hatchery at Deer Lake and planted throughout the province. In view of the many natural enemies of juveniles, and since maskinonge do not normally reach maturity until the fifth or sixth year, there would appear to be merit in raising the fish to a larger size before planting. Elson (1940), experimenting with the planting of fry in a nursery area, obtained a minimum survival of 0.08% for the first year. The experiments were not, however, pursued. In 1952 the transplanting of juvenile and adult maskinonge from Nogies Creek Sanctuary was begun, to determine their value in restocking public lakes. Although hatchery fingerlings were planted into the sanctuary from 1952 on (Muir, 1960), the bulk of the harvested fish were the result of natural reproduction by the resident population. It is noteworthy however, that the planted hatchery fingerlings displayed a survival rate (to age III) ranging from about three per cent to about ten per cent (unpublished). The present report deals with the survival, growth and movement, until time of recapture, of the fish transplanted from the sanctuary.