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Monday, February 14, 2011

Lake Michigan Fisheries Advisory - Isaac Walton League Participation

steelhead
composite photo from Michigan Ikes

excerpted from The Ike's Newsletter, Feb 2011, used with permission
by John Stegmeier


I attended the Lake Michigan Fisheries Citizens Advisory Board meeting on October 25th, representing the DLC/IWLA. At the meeting, the DNRE discussed low numbers of steelhead returning to the Little Manistee River, which is our only source of eggs for hatchery-reared steelhead. They plan to stock the Platte River with steelhead in order to establish a run on that river, since there is a weir in place for collecting salmon eggs. This would allow the state to have two sources of spawning fish in case the run on the Little Manistee falls below levels needed to support our hatchery program. They expect to plant 20,000 smolts in the Platte River to achieve this goal.

Since each great lake receives a portion of the smolts from the hatchers, the DNRE asked our [Michigan Issac Walton League] opinion as to how many the individual lakes should contribute. There were several scenarios they presented, including: all from Lake Michigan, all lakes contribute but heavily supported by Lake Michigan, or, all contribute in levels which represent the percentage that are stocked in that lake. I suggested that we recommend the option where all basins contribute but Lake Michigan contributes a greater proportion. The Lake Michigan basin receives the most steelhead so our contribution will be greatest, and 20,000 fish spread out over several streams will not be a substantial loss.

These fish will also be planted into the Platte River which is in the Lake Michigan basin so if the other lakes contribute any smolts there will be a net gain for Lake Michigan. Following this piece of logic one could argue that Lake Michigan should provide all of the smolts. However I would contend that all of the lakes benefit from a more robust hatchery system and that the other lake basins could make a more modest contribution.

We did not come to a consensus on this decision, which left the recommendation up to our chairman, Denny Grinold. He decided that the recommendation would be Option 2 (inequitable allocation with the Lake Michigan Basin responsible for 15,000 steelhead (75%) of the request. The remaining 5,000 fish would come from Lake Huron (2,800), Lake Erie (1,200) and Lake Superior (5%). The Lake Huron Citizen Fishery Advisory Committee also supported Option 2 in an earlier meeting. The Lake Erie and Lake Superior Committees will also be engaged in this discussion and then the Division will make a decision.

See Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Issac Walton League
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1 comment:

Mer said...

Thanks for the shout out on the adg. forum :) I'll have to remember to review your past articles in prep for my husband's crazy camping and hiking trips this summer!

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