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Categorized | Outdoors

Lake Michigan to get nearly 30% more chinook salmon


A man fishing for chinook salmon on Lake Michigan in 2018 clearly is pleased with his catch! Anglers will get more opportunity to fish for this species in 2020, when the Michigan DNR ups the chinook stocking numbers by nearly 30 percent—jumping from just over 500,000 fish to 654,000 next year.

Starting next year, Michigan plans to increase chinook salmon stocking by 150,000, increasing the total statewide stocking from 504,000 to 654,000 fish. This move is in response to a recent recommendation of the Lake Michigan Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee to boost lakewide stocking levels.

“The Lake Michigan predator and prey balance has improved in recent years,” said Jay Wesley, the DNR’s Lake Michigan Basin coordinator. “The size of the salmon has also improved, with hundreds weighing more than 30 pounds caught at multiple ports.”

This marks the first salmon-stocking increase in Lake Michigan since 1999. The committee has worked continuously with stakeholders and resource agencies around the lake to bring balance to its ecosystem.

“Although some anglers would prefer a larger stocking increase, biologists are still concerned with the uncertainty of alewife year-class strength and how much wild reproduction of salmon to expect,” Wesley said. “Alewife are the main diet of chinook salmon.”

The Lake Michigan Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee and the DNR will continue to monitor Lake Michigan conditions and adjust stocking accordingly to sustain a healthy, diverse salmon and trout fishery. Visit Michigan.gov/Fishing to learn more about how the DNR manages the state’s fisheries.

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