Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

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Steve Hamilton
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Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

Post by Steve Hamilton » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:49 pm

LAKE MICHIGAN CHINOOK VS LAKE TROUT

This report is a follow up to Jay Wesley’s visit to our club meeting on June 27, 2017.


LAKE MICHIGAN LAKEWIDE STOCKING BY ALL STATES & THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Chinook Lake Trout
1998 5.7 million 2.3 million

1999-2005, avg 4.3 2.3

2006-2012 3.2 2.9

2013-2016 1.7 2.9

2017 1.3 2.3


This data shows the Chinook stocking reductions made in 1999, 2006, 2013 and 2017 while the lake trout stocking levels actually increased, until this year. Jay Wesley, MDNR Lake Michigan Basin Leader planned this year to be cut to only 700,000 Chinook with little lake trout reduction. But there was so many complaints by Great Lakes anglers that Michigan cut Chinook by 44% not the 70% he wanted and made minor lake trout cuts. The biggest change from his proposal came from Wisconsin who listened and reacted to their anglers complaints. They did not cut their Chinook plants at all, but did cut their lake trout by 50%.

I and many others supported the earlier cuts in 1999, 2006, and 2013, due to the decline of alewives and supposed large Chinook natural reproduction. That’s the same reason given now. But after seeing increases in lake trout during the massive Chinook cuts it seems the DNR’s actions will turn Lake Michigan mainly into a Lake Trout fishery. Lake Huron has a great Lake Trout fishery, but look at the impact of no salmon there. Few anglers, few boats being launched, closure of ½ the charter fleet and bad impacts on the local towns and marinas.

Natural Chinook reproduction is not a reliable source of fish. The DNR estimates over 6 million Chinook were naturally reproduced in 2012, but that fell to only 1.4 million in 2013 and 2.9 million in 2014.

The Michigan 2015 weir Chinook harvest was down 80% from 2014.

Lake Trout cost more to raise than Chinook, do not fight much, and can be badly contaminated. The Michigan Fish Eating Advisory just 3 or 4 years ago said no one should eat any Lake Michigan Lake Trout.

We do need to keep stocking Lake Trout in the Indian Treaty waters in northern Lake Michigan, but there is natural reproduction of Lake Trout in the southern half on the lake.

Wisconsin listened to their fishermen this year when they cut Lake Trout plants 50% and did not cut their Chinook plants like Mr. Wesley and the Michigan DNR wanted them to. It seems our Michigan DNR doesn’t care as much about our concerns. Why would they not return our State of Michigan chinook planting level to 2012’s 560,000 from the 300,000 now and cut our Lake Trout planting by 50%? That would make the Lakewide Stocking at about 1.6 million close to the 2016 reduced level of 1.7 million Chinook. That would relieve some pressure from the alewives. While Chinook’s diet is 90% alewife, Lake Trout diet does consist of about 50% alewife when available, so reducing their stocking will also relieve some pressure from the alewives.

Bad Dog
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Re: Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

Post by Bad Dog » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:06 am

I'm going to line up a speaker from the Great Lakes Salmon Initiative in August or September. The Great Lakes Salmon Initiative is a non-profit organization whose objective is to support and promote the world class salmon fishery on Lake Michigan and surrounding Great Lakes. You can visit their website at http://www.greatlakesalmon.org and their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/greatlakesalmon.

Adamwest
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Re: Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

Post by Adamwest » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:23 am

Hi all!

I posted links to information regarding the Chinook catches in Lake Michigan earlier that was viewed 655 times without a comment. I suggest that anyone that didn't look at it should.

I found a diagram that I think displays the same information
green bay info.jpg
green bay info.jpg (69.51 KiB) Viewed 2796 times
Good luck,
Adam

Steve Hamilton
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Re: Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

Post by Steve Hamilton » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:24 pm

Adam,

That chart and statistics can be interpreted differently. One reason hatchery chinook aren't caught as much is the more than 80% cuts in plants. And as I posted, before you posted this again, is the unreliability of natural reproduction. I hope you don't want your fishery to depend upon that. Jay Wesley just posted on the Michigan-Sportsman site in the Baitfish thread that Lake Trout plants are going from 3.2 in 2016 to 2.5 million in 2018. That's even more laker plants than my data showed. Those mouths eat a lot of the alewives kings could eat. They should cut laker plants to 1.3 million lakewide and return the king plants to 1.7 million

Steve Hamilton
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Re: Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

Post by Steve Hamilton » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:55 am

Getting a speaker from Great Lakes Salmon Initiative would be good. I looked at the link you provided and they bring up many interesting thoughts, including that many of the private king plants in Ontario waters of Lake Huron, which are not fin clipped, probably migrate to L Michigan and are counted as wild by the DNR. So those natural reproduction percentages may be a bit too high. I wonder how many unclipped kings are planted in L Huron by those private hatcheries?

As a mathematician I know that percentages can be used to cloud the actual numbers. I would like to see the actual numbers used to get those percentage estimates. 80 % could be from only 100 fish, 80 without clips and 20 with. Or it could be from 10,000 fish and be much more reliable.

Adamwest
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Re: Lake Michigan Chinook vs Lake Trout plants

Post by Adamwest » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:48 am

I do not have the answer to the challenges in lake Michigan. I have simply posted what I find to be new or interesting to make everyone aware and to begin conversations regarding a very important subject. If 100 members posted information we could establish a very comprehensive library of information.

I don't know what the percentages mean but if the stocking is reduced more soon the natural reproduction will go to 100% and I would say that would be a very low population.

I am not a Fish Biologist or any sort of expert but I would suggest that if you have a predator / prey imbalance and you are going to drastically reduce one predator species then you should reduce all predator species for a faster recovery and reduced effect on a single species. Especially, if the one species targeted is the single most important draw to the great lakes and responsible for millions of dollars to the great lake States (in my opinion).

Here is a link to some information from Wisconsin. They say the natural reproduction was around 30% in the 1990's. There are more interesting graphs and they have included more numbers.

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemic ... almon.html

Enjoy, Adam

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