Fisheries

Dead Fish Good Sign For Anglers, Not Swimmers

Jul 17, 2013

Just in time for peak travel season dead fish have been washing ashore on parts of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Kevin Skerl, the chief of natural resources at the lakeshore, says it’s not a big concern.

“This is something that happens every year. It’s just a question of if the conditions are such that the dead fish are showing up on beaches where people are,” says Skerl

Recently we reported how native fish are doing really well in one of the Great Lakes. The fish involved are not exactly well known species. But there is one that’s a household name in lakeshore communities and its success is sparking some scientific debate.

A fish with a cult following
Food and travel writers who visit The Cove seldom forget to mention the Chubby Mary. It’s a Bloody Mary with smoked chub in it. Mario Batali even put a photo of the cocktail on Bon Appetit’s website along with his endorsement.

Asian Carp Or Silverfin?

Mar 21, 2013

One of the strategies to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is to eat the ones living in the Mississippi River. But finding a market for millions of pound of carp is not a simple matter. It will take more than a name change. We brought a few chefs together at The Great Lakes Culinary Institute to see what they could do with the fish. Hear about that and why harvesting an invasive species isn’t always a wise management strategy.

Salmon Struggling To Pass Betsie Bay

Sep 14, 2012

Michigan Natural Resources officials are trying to avoid a mass salmon die-off on Betsie Bay near the mouth of the Betsie River. Extremely low water levels are making it difficult for the fish to enter the river and to spawn.

But Fisheries Biologist Mark Tonello says if people stay away from the area there is enough room for the fish to swim up river.

Meaning Of Test Results For Asian Carp Disputed

Sep 7, 2012

Last week officials in Ohio and Michigan announced they found more evidence of Asian carp in Lake Erie. They didn’t find a carp but numerous water samples tested positive for what’s known as environmental DNA. That suggests Asian carp were in Sandusky Bay this summer. If the exotic fish get into the Great Lakes its expected they’ll further upset the current ecosystem.

Plans For Lamprey Barrier In UP Move Forward

Aug 13, 2012

Michigan will take ownership of a dam on the Manistique River in the Upper Peninsula. That will allow the federal government to build a new barrier there to keep sea lampreys from breeding in the river. Managers of the fishery expect that will bring the lamprey problem under control in Lake Michigan.

The number of sea lampreys remains high in Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie, according to a new report to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The eel-like fish was one of the first invasive species to arrive in the lake. It frequently kills lake trout and can also harm white fish and salmon.

According to the report, the number of lampreys in Lakes Michigan and Huron is just above the goal, but the problem with sea lamprey is most serious in Lake Erie. There are believed to be more lampreys in Erie now then there were when control programs began there.

State fishery biologists have to answer a critical question about Lake Michigan this year. How many salmon can it support? Everyone involved in the salmon fishery is worried about its future and now some sport fishing groups say drastic action might be required. They want the state to stop putting more fish into the lake.

State fishery biologists have to answer a critical question about Lake Michigan this year. How many salmon can it support? Everyone involved in the salmon fishery is worried about its future and now some sport fishing groups say drastic action might be required. They want the state to stop putting more fish into the lake.

Salmon Stocking Could Be Cut In Lake Michigan

Apr 9, 2012

Managers of Lake Michigan want to cut the number of Chinook salmon being put into the lake by as much as 50 percent next year. They say changes in the lake’s food web make it possible the entire salmon fishery could collapse. Cutting the number of fish stocked should reduce that risk. There’s a meeting this weekend in Benton Harbor to discuss the proposals.

Dan Thomas, President of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, says most people who pay attention to what’s happening in Lake Michigan see the danger. Thomas says there’s not much food for salmon in the lake these days.

Managers of salmon in Lake Michigan must soon decide how many fish to put into the lake each year. The salmon fishery is a man-made industry in the Great Lakes, produced by planting millions and millions of fish in the lakes. Keeping the salmon population in balance with the food supply is a challenge these days. Some scientists are raising new questions about the salmon's demise in Lake Huron and whether it can be stopped in Lake Michigan.

Sturgeon Heyday

Mar 9, 2012

Lake sturgeon is not a fish you hear much about these days but it was once part of the everyday vernacular around the Great Lakes. The story of its demise is an unusual one. For Americans moving into the region in the 1800s the fish was at first considered worthless but suddenly became a prized food. Laura Bien writes about the history of the sturgeon in her most recent article for The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

Michigan wildlife officials are pushing for more control of a fish eating water bird. They want to double the number of cormorants killed in Michigan each year, to about 20,000.

Cormorants nest in colonies on islands in the Upper Great Lakes and Canada, and they can gobble up a lot of fish.

But, some other researchers are not so sure killing more cormorants will mean more perch, walleye and bass for anglers. 

World Record Trout Pulled From Manistee

Sep 11, 2009

What may be the world's largest brown trout was caught Wednesday on the Manistee River. Tom Healy landed a 41 lb 7 oz fish. That's a pound heavier than the current world record. State biologists verified the weight and declared it the new state record. Healy was fishing with a guide from Cadillac, Tim Roller. 

Roller says they have all the documentation to register the fish and claim the world record. He expects the attention to drive a lot of anglers to the Manistee area.

"But They need to know they're not going to catch a forty pound brown trout," says Roller.

Chub Fishery Disappearing

Aug 10, 2009

The smell of smoked fish mixes with apple and maple wood outside of Monte's Original Smoke House in Frankfort.

The owner Monte Finkhouse says he can't supply enough smoked chub for his customers.

Chubs were THE smoked fish of choice at local retailers up until the mid 90s.  They accounted for 90 percent of all smoked fish sold at Monte's small store in Frankfort.  

"Chubs are the deepest fish we have," Finkhouse said. "So they're real oily and that makes for good smoked fish."

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