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Gill-T

Lake Michigan Lake Trout reduction

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Just my two cents on the matter. I’m sure many will disagree with me, especially since most members here are primarily offshore Pacfific Salmon anglers. But, I’ll say it anyway, and I respect everyone’s thoughts on the matter.

 

As the articles and numerous studies have proven, pretty much every Salmonid species in the Great Lakes other than Chinooks (and possibly Cohos) has a varied diet and can adapt to a changing forage base and lake conditions. The smartest move would probably be to cut stocking numbers for every species, and cut more Chinooks than any others. They’re feeding machines that rely more heavily on Alewives than any Laker, Brown Trout, or Steelhead, there’s no disputing that. Those who are pushing for more Chinooks and less of every other species are likely going to contribute to the downfall of the current food web. The continued high stocking numbers for Chinooks will just run the Alewives into the ground and collapse the entire system to the point that there is nothing left (until a rebound occurs, that is). I find it sad that legislation supported by a select few (who will only benefit short term) can be unanimously passed while the vast majority of anglers, who want a stable and varied fishery, as well as the ecosystem itself, will suffer the consequences.

 

Again, just my opinion, and what I think the safest course of action would be as an onlooking all-species angler.

Edited by Char_Master

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Char:

 

Lakers live a lot longer than Kings, so they remain in the ecosystem as adults much longer, so less Lakers, & manage the stocked Kings based on the condition of the forage base. Lakers also have a relatively low performance digestive system causing them to eat more bait fish to get their required amount of protein compared to other species.

 

John

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Indeed they do. However, because they live so much longer than Chinooks, and even if stocking were to cease they’d still be present in large numbers for the next 10-20 years, I think that it’s too late to make any would-be impactful moves with Lakers. By the time their numbers decrease significantly, it would likely be too late for the rapidly declining forage base. Something big needs to happen in the next 1-4(ish) years if we want to preserve the current fishery.

 

As far as diet, they do consume Alewives, but they also prey largely on Gobies, Smelt, Sculpins, and other species that Chinooks do not key in on. But, these species do still represent portions of the total forage biomass, and so the less prey consumed overall (for the time being), the better. As I said, I think that stocking numbers for every species should be decreased as much as possible/necessary, including Lake Trout. I just know that Chinooks put the biggest dent in the Alewife population, per fish, of all the species present. Personally, I’d love to see a lot of the money that is currently allocated towards stocking Lake Trout instead go to spawning habitat restoration, so that the Lake Trout population can some day support itself in balanced numbers without the need for the feds to pour money into stocking an over-excess of them. From what I’ve heard from friends who fish Lake Michigan, the Lakers are actually becoming stunted because too many are stocked on an annual basis at the moment.

 

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out in the end. Best case scenario, the population of every forage fish spikes and the lake continues to have a varied fishery with every species. Worst case, the forage drops off to near zero, every predator population collapses, and there’s a long period where the lake is virtually fishless before it slowly rebounds as Lake Huron has.

Edited by Char_Master

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I think they found zero alewives in last years Huron trawls. 

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Lakers may be in the system longer but they are easier to take out of the system. They stay in the same band of water year round for he most part. They could cut stocking and fishermen could knock the population down in a hurry. The lakers prey heavily on alewife. Yes they eat other things but their diet is mostly alewife.


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