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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    St. Joseph
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    121

    Please Read and Take the Survey!!

    Seagrant just was at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan to discuss the decline on alewife populations in the lake, which ultimately will lead to the decline in Salmon populations- just like was happened in Lake Huron. Take the survey and let your opinion be heard. Only takes a few minutes and it's something we all are concerned with.

    http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/fish...ing/index.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Eden Prairie, MN
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    2,203
    There was bait everywhere last summer on the WI side. In fact, there were thousands of dead floating Alewife late last July/early August and bait was stacked up to the point that the fish stopped biting. We had several outings where we were definitely on the fish, the temps were perfect and bait everywhere but the fish just wouldn't bite.

    How do they determine whether the forage base is low vs just having moved to another area? With last years crazy weather patterns, nothing seemed to stay in one place for more than a few days.
    Eric
    '87 Four Winns 245 Vista named "Cousin Eddie"
    "Now Clark, don't you go fall'n in love, she's coming with us when we leave here next month".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    milwaukee
    Posts
    3
    I agree. Tons of bait last year in Milwaukee. I thought last year that we should be stocking more here. There were dead alewives everywhere and schools of bait all summer long at the breakwalls and clouds in deep water. Salmon were picking them off the top of the water. The kings were huge. For many it was the best fishing in twenty years. Why is the sky falling now!? Also isn't lake huron and lake michigan two different fisheries and different dynamics?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Near Lansing, MI
    Posts
    6,522
    Per answers to that very question at the salmon planting workshop in Benton Harbor this past Saturday, the trawls are done at a large number of locations and at a wide variety of depths but are sampling near the bottom. According to the "experts" this is more likely to find adult alewife at the times that the trawls are done. There are also acoustic soundings that are done across the lake to get a picture of the population in the upper/mid depths of the lake.

    The biggest problem found in the trawls was the oldest alewife found in the trawls were 5 years old and 90%+ of the alewife were 1 year old (2010 year class). Previous years trawls had shown alewife up to 9 years old. The biggest concern is the lack of adult alewife which can spawn to sustain the population especially since the remaining alewife are being fed on so heavily by the predators -- specifically the Chinook salmon.
    Ryan... ... Think KINGS!

    Boat Name: CATtitude Adjustment -- 21' SeaCat
    More technology per square foot than any boat on the Great Lakes
    Owner: NetBungee -- http://www.netbungee.com &
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    IL, IN, WI, MI
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    292
    Just so everyone knows this data is skewed. preferred temperature ranges of alewives is between 50-65 degrees. the upper great lakes are this fish's northern most range. non of these variables are taken into account with bottom trawling taking place in 800 fow out of frankfort michigan. also why was southern lake michigan left out of the bottom trawling operations? almost 1/3 of the lake was completely left out of the data provided. when questions like these were asked of the USGS and the michigan dnr, promptly either "no comment" or "im not going to address this question at this time" were the responses. ports like grand haven, port sheldon, holland, saugatuck, south haven, st joe/bh, new buffalo, michigan city, port of indiana, east chicago, chicago, waukegan, winthrop harbor, kenosha, racine, milwaukee, port washington, sheboygan, etc all rely on hatchery stocked salmon to maintain their fisheries. the michigan dnr wanted to "poo poo" the creel data provided by other states dnr agencies PROVING THAT FACT because it goes against what michigan dnr wants to force down everyone else's throats. i clearly understand that the NW LP of michigan and the lower UP of michigan produces naturally reproduced kings at a good clip. so why arent the cuts taking place there? like charlevoix's medusa creek, or the boardman river, or the manistee, or the white river, or the muskegon river? what i dont understand is they claim 14 million wild king smolts are coming into lake michigan from georgian bay. thats more smolts than the columbia river in WA/OR. also upon contacting the OMNR about this number, nobody seems to know where this number is coming from. the data they collected to claim that all those smolts are migrating to lake michigan was from coded wire tagged kings planted at the swan river wier in rogers city. really? yes! there is an agenda behind this plan of attack, and everybody on the lake last year will agree, as i know personally the bait out there was 10 times more last year than i have ever seen fishing out there since 1999. lake michigan wouldnt produce 2 world record fish in the last 2 years if the ecosystem was infact crashing.

    furthermore to claim at the beginning of the meeting that lake trout natural reproduction is directly related to alewife populations is also quite contradictory if you ask me. you are cutting plants to propagate a baitfish population that is directly causing a thiamine deficiency in lake trout and other species of fish. basically the federal plants will never end for lake trout because the michigan dnr wants to propagate the alewife, a known hinderance to lake trout reproduction.

    get on the horn to your local dnrs and groups about this bull that michigan is trying to force down everyone's throats on lake michigan. tell michigan if they have the natural reproduction in their waterways, they should be the ones cutting unnecessary king plants, not us!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Traverse City, Michigan
    Posts
    80
    If there isnt a cut back on salmon Lake Michigan is the next Lake Huron. I work a charter in northern Michigan we marked good numbers of bait just like everyone else. The problem is they're not sexually mature and these salmon in the lake now are smashing them all winter and they arent going to stop feeding. If we don't cut back plants the bait will be gone before we know it. We need these cut backs I understand why your frustrated but it's a fact.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    milwaukee
    Posts
    3
    If the story above is true by PierNoMore than the study in which they made all of the stocking decisions is biased. I certainly hope that all the money we spend on great lakes fees would result in a much better study than that. We should all be outraged if true.
    If the purpose of their study was to prove the average age and density of alewives in Frankfort then they succeeded. If they only use that to represent the entire ecosystem of Lake Michigan that it is extremely biased.
    If they would have run a trawl in front of the breakwalls in Milwaukee at any time last summer than the study would have shown that the alewives are 90% population of 3-5 year old fish because those alewives all averaged 4-6". Would that be a true representative of the entire lake? NO!
    Another thing alewives life span are 5 to 6 years old. Having 9 year old fish is unhealthy in itself. Also any slight stress on the system those will be the first to go.

    Plus Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are nothing alike currently. 15 years ago Lake Huron was similar to Lake Michigan. Now you can go to out to 50 FOW and see the bottom it is so infertile and filtered. Can you do that in any other port here in Lake MI? NO. They are different. It wasn't the salmon feeding on alewives which made them go away it was their food source disappearing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    IL, IN, WI, MI
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    292
    attached is a pic of the average size alewife taken between the months of may thru july off the port of st joe/benton harbor. dont tell me spawning adults arent out there. the truncated age class data is based on percentages and since the 2010 alewife class is so massive it manipulates the graph data. also in the ENTIRE report of forage base biomass from the USGS, charts that were not shown in the meeting, show that the adult alewife population(ages greater than 1 year old) has been increasing since 2008. that goes against what they are claiming, does it not? i may be wrong but even if these cuts take place across the lake, michigan would still be ahead of the rest of the states because they hold the ace in the stakeholder's deck of cards: they have all the natural reproduction essentially monopolizing the king fishery and forcing people to fish their ports in coming years. that is something i have a problem with.

    (as an edit id like to inform everyone here that of the 300 alewives taken last summer for meat rigs and catfishing im giving some to either the USGS, USFWS, and or u of milwaukee wisconsin great lakes science dept for aging and analysis. if im right these alewives are spawning adults. that means the data is skewed and WRONG)

    alewives 2011.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Egypt
    Posts
    92
    your incredibly small (not even a blip on the radar) sample size isn't saying hardly anything. Even though not perfect I give far far more credence to the trawl and sonar data sorry.. I think your opinion is incredibly bias. Not to mention I feel anyone who wants to even take the chance to keep planting the given numbers and risk the fishery collapsing is being incredibly selfish. far better IMO to play it safe for a few years then increase the numbers from what is observed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    316
    yes they did trawl all over the lake, not just the north. Yes the trawl data is skewed, time of day and location of trawls. I think it was the gentlemen from Wisconsin on the video at the sea grant site to pointed out these two very important and overlooked statistics. First, low numbers of of older age class of alewife has little to no correlation on alewife recruitment, per their data plot. You can have high numbers of adult alewife and low recruitment, or low numbers of adult alewife and high recruitment. I think it is more environmental/weather related than anything.

    Second, bottom trawl skews numbers to the low side for total alewife population because they are specifically looking in places where they think adult alewife hide...near the bottom at night. To counter this, they acoustic survey (sonar) to try and snapshot where else in the water column any age class of alewife is hiding. This does go back to my theory of wrong time wrong place = wrong interpretation. Not that they get it wrong every time, but as we fishermen know and I see regularly is that literally within hours I can watch a screen top to bottom with bait for miles and miles to go back through and not see a thing. This is southern lake Michigan...cant speak for northern Lake Michigan.

    I do support aggressive Chinook cuts however, as I believe natural reproducing fish should be the goal for a variety of reasons. I also support a multi species fishery, so focus on cutting chinook first and maybe take some of those "saved" funds and put into steelhead or knocking out dams that block natural reproduction and build ladders.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bay City, MI
    Posts
    461
    I think they should raise the limit of all species of LK MI fish but the lk trout. This will take more fish out of the system faster than reducing the plants for 5 years.
    This is a put and take fishery and if the DNR puts in less there will be less to take. Until the fisheries dept. has solid proof of natural reproduction it should be treated as there is very little if any at all due to no actual facts of this happening.
    I would rather catch 5 smaller fish 10-12# than 1 25# fish, smaller fish eat better anyway. So where will the money sports people put into the fisheries go then? This is a situation where there is no clear cut answer to keep the lake in good condition and make all that use it happy, just my opinion.
    Don't go big go MAGNUM MAGNUM LURE!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    IL, IN, WI, MI
    Posts
    292
    Quote Originally Posted by LJambeck View Post
    your incredibly small (not even a blip on the radar) sample size isn't saying hardly anything. Even though not perfect I give far far more credence to the trawl and sonar data sorry.. I think your opinion is incredibly bias. Not to mention I feel anyone who wants to even take the chance to keep planting the given numbers and risk the fishery collapsing is being incredibly selfish. far better IMO to play it safe for a few years then increase the numbers from what is observed.
    the problem i see here is the agencies involved dont have a grasp of the invasive species they are trying to save. point 1: lake michigan is not lake huron. climatologically speaking they are different. average summer water temps are closer to the alewives' native ranges in lake michigan than lake huron. point 2: lake huron's alewife data was incomplete prior to 2003's alewife crash because the various agencies werent monitoring anything, and openly admit that in their lake huron data reports. how can they sit there and say "look lake michigan is doing the same thing as lake huron based on our incomplete and inaccurate data." point 3: bottom trawling only 6 ports and completely disregarding the southern portion of lake michigan is not only an improper rendition the alewife population it is also an insult to the intelligence of anybody with common sense. point 4: the highest concentrations of phosphorus are in 2 locations on lake michigan. the waters of green bay, and the area completely left out of their trawling data from point 3. phosphorus according to the michigan dnr is the basis for plankton, zooplankton, and other forage growth that alewives and other species feed on. lets use common sense for a second and get a clue about a pelagic(migratory) forage species. are you going to starve yourself because your local grocery store went belly up, or are you going to find another grocery store? same applies to these fish. point 5: telling me the percentage of each individual age class for 2011 doesnt tell me anything about the lake because the age classes they claim are gone are from the leanest years of alewife population density. if you have 100,000 adult female alewives that sucessfully spawned in 2010 and their spawn produced 8,000,000,000 offspring(which did happened FYI) what percentage of the total alewife population is now adults after said spawn took place? see what im saying? the data is skewed. i just hope michigan isn't forcing this down every other states' throats, as a tactic to monopolize the king fishery in the lake, clearly because 100% of the natural reproduction is taking place in michigan's rivers. so in a sense im not being "selfish", but more concerned that one state is trying to collapse other states' fisheries. agendas and data are a bad combo.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Egypt
    Posts
    92
    You do make some valid points but IMO if you're actually claiming that a state is trying to monopolize the fishery I dont even know what to say about that. That's lunacy in my mind. As far as trawl data I think everyone agrees it's not accurate. But as long as it's done the same way.. Same places it's comparable to itself in some manner. As far as the % of adult alewives in the lake there is some validity to the data and their concerns. Look at it this way.. X number of adult alewives produce Y number of young alewives. Yes the % of adult alewives then drops but as the year progresses alewives from previous year classes should be joining the ranks of adult alewives. Now yes there is gonna be fluctuation but in a healthy system the % of adult to nonadult alewives should vary in big huge number. There's gonna be a window in which that ratio should generally fall into or be very very close. But if the alewives are getting eatin faster than they are able to grow and maintain this ratio then you get a slowly dwindling adult stock of alewives which slowly reduces the overall number of alewives in the lake which if the path continues eventually the bottom falls out to where the few adults can't produce enough young to have dome of them reach adulthood. Then the fishery crashes because the bait can keep up and disappears.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Egypt
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    Even if there isn't a problem.. Slowing down for a few years and allowing more alewives to reach adulthood is a positive thing for the future of the fishery.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    IL, IN, WI, MI
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    292
    Quote Originally Posted by LJambeck View Post
    You do make some valid points but IMO if you're actually claiming that a state is trying to monopolize the fishery I dont even know what to say about that. That's lunacy in my mind.
    the point behind that comment of monopolizing stems from the fact that clearly 100% of the natural reproduction taking place in lake michigan is from michigan's rivers. and NOBODY here or from the various dnr agencies around lake michigan will deny that. various groups in michigan proposed a 2 year ban on king salmon stockings based on this skewed data. if you eliminate stockings in wisconsin's ports you basically have wiped out their king fishery by doing so(based on creel data from wi dnr, in dnr, and il dnr which suggests 80-90% of creeled kings being hatchery raised). where is that toursim money gonna go? where the kings are in ports like ludington, whitehall, muskegon, manistee, manistique, pentwater, leland, charlevoix, and petoskey amongst others. where are those ports located? in michigan. thats where the monopolizing comment came from just to clarify.

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