The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has decided to put out a proposal for increasing the stocking of Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan. After decades of fish stocking decreases to help with balancing the alewife and Chinook salmon populations, the Michigan DNR is reporting seeing good indicators that stocking increases may be needed in Lake Michigan for the coming year or years.
To be transparent about this proposal and receive public feedback, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be hosting a virtual meeting on Monday, Sept. 19th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
“We have seen several years of good Chinook salmon growth and have a slight increase in the alewife biomass, or abundance of those fish,” said Jay Wesley, the DNR’s Lake Michigan basin coordinator. “Although the alewife biomass is a fraction of what it was historically, we have a good 2021-year class and have seen up to six-year classes of alewives in our fisheries surveys – that means there are up to six different age groups in the current population of alewife.”
The term “year class” refers to all fish of any species that were hatched either naturally in the wild or in hatcheries during that year’s fish spawning period. Coordinator Wesley says that a recently run predator-prey model suggests that Lake Michigan has a good ratio of Chinook salmon to alewife biomass. This was one of the many indicators used to make these new stocking decisions.
“The proposed 54% increase from 650,000 to 1 million spring fingerlings is a modest increase compared to the estimated 4.5 million wild Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan,” said Wesley. “It will allow us to increase numbers at sites like Charlevoix that contribute to the entire lake fishery and reinstate stocking sites like Ludington State Park and Fairport.”
Michigan Sea Grant will assist with the Zoom meeting:
- Save the date: Monday, Sept. 19, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
- Passcode: 2022
- Or join via telephone: 646-876-9923 or 301-715-8592
- Webinar ID: 994 1124 7153
- Questions? Contact Jay Wesley
Contact: Jay Wesley, 616-490-5090