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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    St. Joseph
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    129

    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
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    Eden Prairie, MN
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    2,238
    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
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    milwaukee
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    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
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    Near Lansing, MI
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    7,051
    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


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    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
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    83
    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
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    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
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    IL, IN, WI, MI
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    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
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    Dec 2006
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    Egypt
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    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
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bay City, MI
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    464
    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!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    IL, IN, WI, MI
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    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.

  12. #12
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    Dec 2006
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    Egypt
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    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.

  13. #13
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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.

  14. #14
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    May 2011
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    IL, IN, WI, MI
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    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.

  15. #15
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    Oct 2003
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    Near Lansing, MI
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    I attended the Benton Harbor salmon planting workshop this past Saturday. It was interesting, but "workshop" to me is not a good description of what it was. There were informative presentations but then there was only an opportunity to comment and ask questions where the formal presenters more or less defended what was presented -- no real workshop to try to understand what was going on.

    In my opinion as far as the salmon plants, they should eliminate the vast majority of Chinook plants for two years. Ideally with the number of naturally produced fish now in the system (both from NW Michigan rivers and Georgian Bay migrants) it would be a 100% reduction. As far as the open water fishery, this should not be a problem -- Chinook and Coho both move all around the lake and in normal years are usually following the water temps from south to north as the lake warms. The problem I believe would be in late summer and fall for ports where there is little if any natural reproduction happening. Since there are no fish coming from those rivers, no significant numbers of fish will stage or run those rivers. Even in Michigan that would include major ports such as St. Joe, South Haven, Holland, and Grand Haven -- which being in the southern part of the lake are very popular because of the convenience of distance to most of Michigan's population and other states for tourism. Consequently my approach would be to only plant Chinook in tributaries that do not have significant natural reproduction to continue the fishery at these ports. This could be still be in significantly reduced numbers because the goal would be to maintain a fishery during a relatively short (2-3 week) period prior to the spawning run.

    The only downside I see to this approach would be that the fish collection facilities in Michigan are on rivers that are likely to have natural reproduction. If no hatchery fish are planted there will not be an effective way to determine how many fish returning are hatchery (micro tagged) verses natural (no tag). The only measure of the ratio of planted to natural fish in the lake would be with the open water catch. This would also mean that all subsequent fish being used for hatchery production of fish to be planted would be from wild/natural fish since those would be the only ones returning to spawn in the fall.

    To remotely believe that there is any type of conspiracy by Michigan to monopolize the salmon in the lake is absolutely preposterous. Based on the historical evidence which is probably somewhat flawed but the best indicator of the health of the lake we have, there are not enough alewife to support the current population of predator fish in the lake. Most of the indications are that the high population of Chinook are the most likely ongoing issue with sustaining a sufficient number of spawning age alewife. What I am hoping is that there will be cuts in the numbers of Chinook planted lake wise (well beyond the 30 or 50% reductions currently proposed) and when it gets to the specifics of where the fish are planted, it ends up at locations that do not have a naturally sustaining spawning run.

    The evidence presented also shows that Lake Trout are the second heaviest predator of alewife in the system with Coho, Steelhead, and Brown Trout being much more diverse in their food sources and having much less impact on alewife. Significant cuts in Lake Trout plants are not on the table but all of the current 4 options have reductions in these other species by 10% along with the higher cuts in Chinook. I really don't understand this approach. If the supporting evidence says that Chinook over feeding on alewife is the main problem and Lake Trout are the species feeding on them... 1) why aren't Lake Trout plants proposed to be more than 10% and 2) Why are reductions to the other species even being proposed? I suspect that the answer to #1 is the commercial fishery of the Native American tribes and the desire of the feds to resurrect Lake Trout -- probably completely out of the state's control on both items. As for #2, I just don't get it -- if anything I would suggest increasing the plants of these species. Especially for Steelhead and Brown Trout since as I understand it, do not move around the lake like salmon do.

    While daily creel limits are not directly related to stocking number, if reducing the population of Chinook in the lake is the real goal of all of these efforts, then significantly liberalizing the creel limit seems to be a no brainer to me. I suspect that the charter industry is not a big fan of this as it would mean needing to stay on the lake longer per trip on average. Maybe offer a premium license to allow more than the regular 5 salmon per day to be kept. I remember back in the early '90s on Lake Erie the walleye population was so large that the limit was 10 per person and it has now been significantly reduced because measurements indicate that there are a lot less walleye available in the lake. I was happy a few years ago to see the 5 fish limit restored from the 3 fish limits during the BKD years when salmon werre scarce. Same for the 3 rod per person rule. If there are that many Chinook in the lake let the anglers take as many as possible. Catch a salmon... save an alewife. These things can be adjusted annually on Lake Michigan between the 4 states just like they are on Lake Erie with 4 states and 1 province.
    Ryan... ... Think KINGS!

    Boat Name: CATtitude Adjustment -- 21' SeaCat
    More technology per square foot than any boat on the Great Lakes


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