We attended the Lake Michigan Citizens Advisory Committee last week and wanted to provide an update from the meeting.
The MDNR Law Enforcement division encourages anglers and boaters to report any commercial net entanglement issues they experience. They want to track these incidents. If nets are poorly marked, we encourage you to report that as well. You can use the RAP line to report these incidents.
All frozen whole or cut bait must be labeled as to what species it is, where it came from and that is was tested to be certified VSH free. If bait is not properly labeled and tested, it could spread fish diseases into our waters.
Our Great Lakes fisheries biologists want to hear from anglers on brown trout catches. Brown trout plantings have had very low returns in recent years. The DNR has concentrated brown trout plants in the NW part of Lake Michigan hoping that larger and concentrated plants would improve the returns. We have got some reports of improved brown fishing this spring off Ludington. It is important to let the DNR know about your brown trout catches to help evaluate planting success. You can let your local creel clerks know or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass it on to the DNR.
More chinooks are being stocked this year and we are hopeful that if predator prey ratios continue to improve, even more can be stocked in 2022. The GLSI will be participating in future meetings to discuss king stocking for 2022.
We raised our concerns about cisco’s feeding on alewives and that we do not want to see cisco stocked in Lake Michigan until our forage base fully recovers and king stocking is increased significantly. Given the changes in the lakes due to quagga mussels, the forage base may never recover to its historic levels, thus, we see no reason to add other fish they prey on alewives into our lake. There are current diet studies going on for cisco and preliminary results indicate they do feed on young alewives. We want more kings instead of stocking cisco. Ciscos are established in Traverse Bays and are expanding naturally from there.
There is an interesting study going on to track the movement of cisco, whitefish, and lake trout in the northwest part of Lake Michigan and Traverse Bays. The DNR have been catching cisco, whitefish and lake trout and implanting transmitters into their abdomens. These fish will have a large foy tag in their back. There is a network of receivers across the bottom of the lake and bays that will pick up and record the movement of these fish with transmitters (see pictures). The biologists will be able to tell if fish move in or out of the Traverse Bays and Lake Charlevoix and how far they move each year in northern Lake Michigan. There is similar study going on in Green Bay too. If anglers catch fish with these foy tags, they are encouraged to release them. If anglers do keep them, please return the transmitter to a nearby DNR creel clerk or office. Hopefully this new technology can be used to learn more about fish movements through our Great Lakes. The pic shows the array of tracking receivers.