Lake Trout Predation on Smolts

This lake trout was caught off Manistee today with these newly planted browns in it’s stomach. It was not the only laker caught today eating browns. The lakers stack up in shallow water this time of year and are clearly having an impact on newly planted fish and most likely wild smolts too. We have always advocated for reductions in lake trout stocking and appreciate the MDNR has stopped stocking lake trout in southern Lake Michigan outside of the Treaty of 1836 waters. The problem with the continued over stocking of lake trout is because it is a result of the current Treaty of 1836 decree. The Federal Government is also committed to a lake trout restoration effort as part of it. Due to this, the MDNR cannot reduce lake trout plants in treaty waters where over 2 million are planted every year. There is also natural reproduction occurring and no one knows precisely how many natural lake trout are produced annually. This is a reason why the consent decree negotiations that are underway now are so critical for anglers. Lake trout are also preying on young whitefish which have far more commercial value to the Tribal Nations. Perhaps it’s time to shift resources from lake trout to a whitefish restoration program in the Federal hatchery system.
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