The MDNR stated that they will NOT be doing spring Steelhead egg take in 2020. This will effect 2021 fall fingerling and 2022 spring plantings, since most of them are in the hatchery system for 18 months.
The GLSI contacted the MDNR immediately through texts and phone calls while they were meeting on this subject and expressed that this would be the perfect opportunity to follow the in place process procedures of equivalencies. We can increase Chinook plants in Michigan waters of Lake Michigan by the equivalency ratio that is currently in place without increasing predator impact. Also keep in mind that in 2021 the Lake Michigan Committee agreed to increase Chinook plants as in 2020 lake wide and Michigan was going to get the majority this time around. After all Michigan took the brunt of the cuts from 2012 1.51 million, through 2017 330,000, a 78% reduction.
Other issues and topics that are constantly being thrown out on facebook pages are: People are asking for catch and release regulations, stream and river closures to protect spawning stocks, creel regulations etc. Well with fishing closures we now artificially have, these regulations are in place. What impact will this have on fish stocks and bait populations?? This will be a tremendous case study.
Let’s review why salmon and other species are stocked and why the salmon were introduced in the first place by the MDNR. When DR Tanner was put in place as Chief of Fisheries he was told to do something spectacular. He recognized the massive food source in the Great Lakes, the alewife, and wanted to create a sport fishery, a source of protein to feed people. He also recognized that a Lake Trout dominated fishery was NOT and would NEVER be a Spectacular Sport Fishery on its own!! This has always been a put and take fishery, not a catch and release fishery. The benefit has also been the economic impact to states. Coastal community infrastructure which never existed has been enhanced and changed forever. Reducing access to these fish whether on the lake or rivers will take away food and jobs by severe regulation changes
We are in the 3rd year of mass marking and CWT tagging of Steelhead. It is extremely important to turn in your heads if steelhead are adipose clipped so we can garner critical information on this species. We need to understand true natal production, migration patterns, growth rates, health of the fishery, angling impact, stocking strategies, planting locations and timing, straying from planting locations for example.