The Walleye Watch Program is run collaboratively between the Scugog Lake Stewards and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. In order to assess the locations where the walleye are spawning in the spring on Lake Scugog. The Walleye Watch program has been running for the past 4 years on Lake Scugog, and over that time the volunteers have observed hundreds of fish spawning in the lake. We need volunteers from all parts of the lake, we’re looking for the rocky shorelines, we need people in the East arm, the West arm, the North part of the lake, into the Scugog River, into the Nonquon River. What you do it, you just count the walleye. You’ll see the eyes pop through the surface of the water, they’ll right almost up onto the shoreline. You’ll see their fins, and we’ll get you to take a thermometer and take a temperature of the water, and then you just take environmental factors into consideration. Like, the temperature of the air, if it’s windy if it’s raining, snowing. And then, at the end of the season, we transfer all that information to the OMNRF in order to understand where the walleye are spawning. So, this helps the OMNRF to keep track of the walleye population, to see whether walleye are using the spawning locations that have historically been identified. And, to see if there are any new locations that they might be spawning in that we aren’t aware of from before. So, the first couple years of the walleye watch, we’re really the most exciting. The first year, we really wanted to get the answer… Are there walleye still in the lake? And, we got a resounding yes to that, everybody saw walleye. Not in the numbers that we would’ve expected in the years past, but it’s really encouraging to see that they are still here. The secondary question was of course, Are they spawning? And, are they successfully spawning, at that? One of the things with the walleye spawn is that they will trigger and come up and start to spawn, but if you get a cold front that moves in, and the worst case scenario is a re-freeze where the lake actually freezes back up again. Those sustained temperatures over a period of even just three days, can completely eradicate all the success of that year’s spawn. Which is really unfortunate, but it’s certainly outside of our control. That’s mother nature. We need as many volunteers as possible because the ministry doesn’t have enough people or time to go around the lake and monitor all of these areas. One of the best areas for a successful spawn for walleye is a gravely, rocky bottom, and a wooden swept area. Those interstitial spaces that allow those eggs to fall down into, which keeps the predators from getting all of them. So, with the weeds blanketing the bottom of the lake and not broken down it fills in these areas and what it does is it leaves the eggs open and exposed. to predators in the lake. Understanding where the walleye are spawning is a critical first step in order to understand the changes in their population, and potentially to rehabilitate their spawning habitat in order to bring them back to the lake. We’re not just looking for the walleye and counting eyes. There’s a lot more going on here and there’s a lot more being taken into consideration, and that’s why all the partners are playing such a big piece in trying to solve this riddle. The walleye watch is very important to me because I live on the lake, I’ve lived on the lake for the past thirteen years. I have children and I want my children to be able to enjoy the fishery as I’d been able to enjoy it. The Scugog Lake Stewards and the OMNRF staff are just so grateful to the volunteers for their time and effort in doing this year after year.