MILWAUKEE – With reports of great salmon and trout fishing this summer in Wisconsin ports up and down Lake Michigan, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is encouraging anglers to aid critical fisheries research by donating the heads of fish they harvest.
The heads of stocked chinook salmon and lake trout contain tiny coded wire tags. The tags hold important data and are being sought as part of an ongoing and collaborative effort lake-wide to document fish behavior and provide information that will aid in management of the fishery. Mid-summer is an important time for data collection because salmon from throughout Lake Michigan and parts of Lake Huron travel to Wisconsin’s shores to take advantage of the alewives gathered here.
DNR has partnered with local businesses in most major ports along the lakeshore to provide convenient locations for anglers to drop off fish heads. The businesses have been given forms for anglers to fill out and bags to use for freezing the heads.
Anglers should include the following information with each head – date and location of capture, along with the fish species, length, weight and gender. Visit DNR.wi.gov and search “missing fin clip” for a complete list of locations to drop off heads or read the complete news release here.
Also, the DNR continues to welcome comments on a variety of options to manage the valuable Lake Michigan fishery given ongoing changes in the food web.
DNR recently concluded three public meetings that laid out a variety of challenges and opportunities for the multi-million dollar fishery and those who depend on it for their livelihoods and recreation. A copy of the presentation and summary of stakeholder comments from the June 27 meeting in Cleveland, Wis., can be found by visitingDNR.wi.gov and searching “Lake Michigan salmon and trout meetings.”
The recent meetings focused on a variety of potential management actions to ensure continued diverse opportunities for sport anglers. Topics for discussion included finding the right species mix, stocking numbers, use of net pens, hatchery production, habitat restoration and the potential to increase focus on species with the greatest chances of thriving given the record low levels of open water forage fish such as alewives and rainbow smelt.
The initiative represents part of an ongoing effort by DNR to ensure anglers’ voices are heard. Anglers, charter captains, associated business owners, commercial fishers and other fish enthusiasts are encouraged to provide input to help natural resource managers maintain a world-class fishery.
The deadline for comments is July 31. Send comments via email toDNRLakeMichiganPlan@wisconsin.gov or mail to: Bradley T. Eggold, Department of Natural Resources, UWM – GLRF – SFS, 600 E. Greenfield Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53204.