By Louie Stout
The Indiana DNR is seeking angler feedback as they put together a chinook salmon management plan.
Surveys are being emailed to everyone who bought a license online last year and all anglers are urged to participate.
“We’re looking for public input about our chinook salmon stocking,” says DNR Lake Michigan Biologist Ben Dickinson. “The survey will cover angling habits and ask questions about the various management options the DNR is offering.”
Anglers who didn’t buy their license online or didn’t receive an invitation through email may take the survey by using a generic link: bit.ly/chinooksalmonstockingsurvey.
By JOHN BAUMAN, Michigan DNR
The Michigan DNR manages many inland lakes in the Upper Peninsula for brook, brown and rainbow trout.
These trout lakes - less than 100 acres each - are often considered small compared with other inland lakes.
Depending on the lake, various regulations are in effect for anglers hoping to catch trout. In some of these lakes, anglers are restricted to the use of only artificial lures or all tackle is permitted, except minnows. On other lakes, all tackle is allowed.
Again, depending on the lake - designated by letters A through D in the Michigan Fishing Guide - there are minimum size limits for trout, ranging between 8 and 15 inches. There are also seasonal restrictions on some lakes, while others are open year- round.
These regulation variations provide anglers with diverse fishing opportunities.
"Many of these small inland lakes are also remote and provide an exceptional wilderness experience," said Darren Kramer, a DNR fisheries biologist in Escanaba. "For example, a series of remote wilderness lakes located in Alger County have been managed for brook trout since the 1950s."
The Indiana DNR is holding two public meetings in January to discuss the current Lake Michigan Chinook salmon stocking plan.
The first meeting will be held on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan City Fish and Game Club, 3091 E Michigan Blvd., Trail Creek, IN 46360.
The second is Saturday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Indiana Harbor Yacht Club, 3301 Aldis Ave., East Chicago, IN 46312.
Indiana DNR recently announced that 275,000 Chinook salmon will be stocked in Lake Michigan annually starting in 2023, an increase from 225,000.
During the meetings, Indiana DNR will also announce details of a plan for soliciting public input regarding future plans for the species.
“We have a lot of dedicated and informed anglers, and we’d like to get their thoughts to help shape future stocking plans for 2023 and beyond to create the fishery that works best for all Hoosier anglers,” said the agency’s Lake Michigan biologist, Ben Dickinson.
For more information about Lake Michigan fishing visit wildlife.IN.gov/3625.htm.
Michigan’s DNR’s survey vessel Steelhead and vessels from two other agencies cooperatively plied the waters of Lake Michigan in August, sampling key forage fish populations critical to the health of salmon, steelhead and lake trout, and found forage fish numbers to be improving in Michigan waters.
The 2022 hydro acoustic survey comprised 26 transects spanning nearshore and offshore regions around Lake Michigan. A transect essentially is a predetermined line, from point A to point B, that determines the survey route.
The S/V Steelhead completed 13 of these transects in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey research vessel Sturgeon (eight transects) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service R/V Baird (five transects).
Indiana DNR will increase Chinook salmon stocked in Lake Michigan by 50,000 starting in spring 2023, per Lake Michigan Committee agreement.
The change will increase the annual production target for Chinook from 225,000 to 275,000.
Baitfish populations have rebounded from an all-time low in the mid-2010s after lake-wide stocking reductions made by all state agencies during the past decade.
Ben Dickinson, Indiana DNR’s Lake Michigan biologist, says the improved predator-prey balance in the lake allows for the increase, which should benefit anglers, but biologists will be monitoring for the need for future adjustments.
“Anglers should realize increasing stocking does increase predation pressure and may increase future risk to baitfish populations,” he said. “We will continue to closely watch the predator-prey balance to help ensure the long-term health of the fishery.”