Driftless Trout Anglers

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#1 Posted : Monday, December 9, 2019 1:28:29 PM(UTC)
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Thought this was interesting…

Salmon Stocking

This is outside of my wheelhouse as I don't go on charter boats and really don't fish the tribs, but gotta think some will be happy to hear about brookies being back in the plans.

In other Lake Michigan news, Jason Mitchel Outdoors had an episode on ice fishing Milwaukee Harbor for giant browns, which is something I'd like to do.

Checked out the guide he was with and it was $500 for a day on the ice. Blink I would have been uncomfortable at $100. Laugh

Maybe that's the going rate but I think I'll just drill my own holes and take a chance on getting shutout if I ever do it.
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#2 Posted : Monday, December 9, 2019 3:44:19 PM(UTC)
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As someone who fishes the western tribs of Michigan I don’t like the sounds of this at all. The article alluded to the concerns/anger of the MI DNR.

I mostly fish for steelhead and maybe salmon once a year but from my perspective there’s no shortage of salmon. Numbers might be down a bit in Michigan but that has also lead to bigger fish due to a larger forage base.

I get the struggles of charter captains, but the WI DNR increasing king stocks by 50% seems like a reckless and short sighted solution. One party trying to create a more sustainable resource while the other is treating it more like a put and take fishery won’t work too well.

I was always curious to how the politics of the Great Lakes work. I would love to hear more about this issue from someone more involved or informed than myself.

- Steve
#3 Posted : Monday, December 9, 2019 4:01:57 PM(UTC)
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That is interesting. I enjoy reading Paul Smith's columns, but it's gotten more difficult lately because so many of them are Subscribers-Only. Not sure how you linked to the article so that everyone could read it, but it worked out well.

I was glad to see the brown trout numbers increased-it's a fishery that's accessible to the shore angler and there are a lot of huge fish available in the tributaries-but was surprised to see such a large increase in salmon stocking. As was pointed out in the article, it's not just a matter of stocking more smolts, waiting for a couple of years and then seeing more adult salmon available to the charters; there is a carrying capacity and it may be being approached or reached rapidly (see Lake Huron for a frightening example). Salmon are not all that adaptable: if the alewife population collapses, it's not as if the salmon will easily switch to eating gobies. Sounds as if the captains got what they wanted. I hope they enjoy it because it may not last long.
#4 Posted : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 12:50:11 AM(UTC)
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I’m happy to see the Brook Trout stocking return, but I’m not thrilled to see the bump in Chinooks. Seems like the charter captains threw a fit because they can’t take easy limits of Chinooks anymore.

Chinook and Coho Salmon are completely dependent on Alewife, unlike Lakers, and especially Steelhead and Browns. A couple long, cold winters, and the baitfish biomass just might crash. I don’t see the need to push the envelope and risk an entire collapse when it’s still the best Salmon fishery outside Alaska.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
#5 Posted : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 12:54:48 AM(UTC)
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I have fished for salmon and steelhead for about 30 years, in Wisconsin and Michigan. I agree that the King numbers are down in Wisconsin. Many of the rivers in Michigan are not stocked at all. Yet the fish in Michigan are larger.
Most of the rivers and streams in Wisconsin can’t support the spawning fish, so it has to be put and take. The problem is that the fish do crisscross the lake.
This summer a Michigan charter captain who was in the middle of a divorce, zip tied his wedding ring to a steelhead’s tail. The fish was released in Whitehall MI. Caught somewhere around Waukegan IL, a month later. What one state does will affect all the states on the lake.
I think it is a bad idea to increase stocking like that, the forage base isn’t there. The alewives numbers aren’t what they used to be. There used to be die offs of alewives to the point where there were large numbers of dead fish on the beaches, and that hasn’t happened since the 70’s. The smelt numbers aren’t what they used to be either.
Almost sounds like they are going to feed them brook trout.
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