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Two Rivers/Manitowoc, Lake Michigan (all postings)

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TRPierguy
TRPierguy
Level: General User
Joined: 8/23/2011
Status: Offline
11/6/15 6:29 PM CST
According to this recent article, Wisconsin DNR are stocking 810,000 salmon in Lake Michigan this year. With studies showing alewife populations at record lows and knowing salmon are not feeding on invasive gobies, can/will these salmon survive?

http://wsau.com/news/articles/2015/nov/02/dnr-officials-are-ready-for-next-years-lake-michigan-salmon-season/

tangled2
tangled2
Level: General User
Joined: 4/1/2002
Status: Offline
FISHING REPORT
10/15/15 1:45 PM CST
Conditions: Sunny Water Temp: 56° - 60° F
The Season is over for my boat. I did a solo run Wednesday afternoon from 1PM to about 5PM. Started 40ft. of water off Red Arrow Park headed South. Turned at the Dome and stayed 40 to 45ft. back to Manty Piers then circled the Pier Heads twice with nothing to show for it. A little choppy but the auto held and I listened to talk radio the entire afternoon. Not many marks and pretty much a blank screen off the Pier heads but a nice afternoon to get some sun. Not sure what next Season will bring just did the log and with 20 launches and 39 fish somehow I feel that will be tough to beat next Season. I was at the Kewaunee Egg gathering site on the morning of the 4th. I understand the day prior they had something going there so maybe the gathering ponds were emptied then I'm not sure? Anyway, there were a fair amount of Salmon at the very bottom of the ladder that day getting ready to ascend. Good luck until next Season.

jeremiah
jeremiah
Level: General User
Joined: 3/28/2004
Status: Offline
10/9/15 8:38 PM CST
fished from 11am to 4pm in two rivers north peir not even a bump Puke Puke throw every bait i had all colors

Jzutz
Jzutz
Level: MEMBER
Joined: 5/23/2015
Status: Offline
10/9/15 5:37 PM CST
Any thoughts for fishing out of Manty or TR the next 3 weekends? 2 hour trip and we don't feel like getting skunked like we did in September. Have the fish congregated in the harbor yet? Thanks for any info.

musky5242
See Profile
Profile
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Joined: 7/24/2011
Status: Offline
10/2/15 3:13 PM CST
A lot of eyes are focused on this year’s salmon spawning run, and plenty of ears await word on just when it’s time for a trip to a favorite lakeshore river.

But it’s the mouths — or in many cases in this digital world today, the fingers — than are already running with rumors of Lake Michigan’s salmon fishery in jeopardy of failing.

That’s exactly what happened in Lake Huron more than a decade ago, when chinooks basically ate themselves out of alewives, then starved or migrated out of Huron into Michigan in search of their favorite forage.

For nearly as long, newspaper reporters in Michigan and Wisconsin have retold the tale, and wondered, in print, if the same thing could happen in Lake Michigan.

While the obituary is premature, there are enough red flags that even many former skeptics are concerned over the future of chinook salmon here.

The reason? Alewife numbers have been at very low levels for a number of years, and researchers are finding fewer year classes of them out there.

The late Paul Peeters, a longtime DNR fisheries biologist and avid salmon and trout angler from Sturgeon Bay, was among the first to sound the alarm.

More than a decade ago, Peeters warned that declining weight and fat content of chinooks was a sign that they weren’t getting enough to eat, and he recommended stocking cuts.

His calls for reduced stocking were eventually heeded by Wisconsin, but Michigan didn’t follow suit and instead, raised even more chinooks for a period before eventually cutting and finally, in 2013, took the largest share of a lakewide slashing of salmon stockings.

Today, some stubborn anglers still insist there are plenty of alewives, and the DNR simply needs to stock more salmon to revive the fishery.

They got a little ammo prior to this year after a very strong alewife year class in 2010 helped revive salmon sizes for a few years, and the 2012 class of alewives was also above average. However, researchers say the 2013 and 2014 alewife year classes were poor, and early reports are that 2015 is only slightly better.

Reduced forage has shown up in fish size. Only 27 chinooks over 20 pounds were registered in this year’s K/D Salmon Tournament, a drop of more than 80 percent from 2014.

More wild fish

A lakewide coded wire tag study on hatchery chinooks has shown that a longtime hunch was correct — naturally reproducing salmon were entering the lake at an unprecedented rate.

While most are coming from the Michigan side, some also migrated from the Ontario side of Lake Huron.

Even with about six of every 10 fish caught in recent years wild, biologists estimate the salmon population is down about 75 percent from 2012, a combination of reduced stocking and a drop in natural reproduction from low, warm water that year.

While that sounds like a bad thing, the fact that it’s coinciding with a dangerously low period of alewife numbers gives hope to the faithful who have seen salmon pronounced dead before.

The first time was the late 1980s, when alewives crashed from record salmon stocking in the mid-80s. Stocking cuts helped restore balance and improve fish health. There have been more cuts since then, including in the mid-00s when salmon size shrunk dramatically.

David Warner, a research biologist with the Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., said long, cold winters and cold springs in 2013 and 2014 didn’t do alewives any favors, and though it was warmer this year, the jury is still out on whether there were enough alewife produced to sustain even a reduced population of chinooks.

Unlike trout, which have been known to feed on round gobies on the bottom at times, salmon prefer foraging in open water on schools of alewife.

The number of young alewives was up slightly during August surveys, but Warner said there were far fewer adults, a sign that salmon and trout may be eating themselves out of large portions of year classes.

Researchers did find more young-of-the-year bloater (chubs) than they’d seen in more than 20 years. He wonders if anglers might be finding any in the bellies of salmon or trout. (They look similar to young alewives, but have an adipose fin).

It’s likely that most of the fish fanatics invading the Besadny fisheries facility Saturday won’t have a clue what’s going on in Lake Michigan. Yet an hour south, salmon and alewives will be a hot topic at a Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum meeting at Lakeshore Technical College.

U.P. Chumbucket
U.P. Chumbucket
Level: General User
Joined: 4/5/2014
Status: Offline
10/1/15 5:46 AM CST
I now its from the MI DNR but open it up and click on "Lake Michigan Fishery Update". Good info. From a former Lake Huron fisherman lets hope this works.

http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDNR/bulletins/11c4f0e

#9fan
#9fan
Level: General User
Joined: 10/5/2006
Status: Offline
9/30/15 10:58 PM CST
Loner, Thanks for the report. Very informative.

ibfishn
ibfishn
Level: General User
Joined: 8/2/2001
Status: Offline
9/30/15 9:25 PM CST
While the salmon fishery might never be what it was the overall fishery is in good shape. While I wouldn't argue the fact that most everyone's salmon catch has been down the last couple years alot of guys have become more versatile and varied in their approach on the lake resulting in very good catches of rainbows, cohos and lake trout. I fish everywhere from Manitowoc to Sturgeon Bay and my catch numbers have been as good as any other year, just a more varied mix of fish. Most charters are adapting the same approach.

Loner Fly
Loner Fly
Level: MEMBER
Joined: 6/23/2005
Status: Offline
9/30/15 10:17 AM CST
While browsing the net I found this interesting link about the status of the salmon in Lake Michigan. This is an interesting read although depressing. It does have the answer to the question many of you are asking---Where the hell are all those salmon?? Copy and paste the link below if it does not open or read below.

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/09/29/salmon-population-plummeting-lake-michigan/73032260/

I had a very low fish catch this season myself as did others did that stay the summer at Seagull Marina. I sold my boat and probably will not be on the water much next season but I do plan to be at the marina next summer. (My age of 75 the reason for selling not the fishing.) Let us all hope the baitfish rebound and the salmon numbers bounce back with those big string stretchers filling the coolers once again. Good Fishing to all Loner Fly.

Salmon population plummeting in Lake Michigan

By Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press 8:23 a.m. EDT September 30, 2015

They are the king of the Great Lakes sport fish, luring thousands of anglers to Michigan waters every year for a chance to try to land them — and helping fuel a multibillion-dollar fishing and boating tourism industry.

But the Chinook salmon's numbers are plummeting in Lake Michigan due to a combination of natural forces, unnatural invasive species, and the state Department of Natural Resources' own efforts to dial back the population and prevent a more permanent population crash as happened in Lake Huron about a decade ago.

The salmon population on Lake Michigan is down 75% from its 2012 peak, said Randy Claramunt, a DNR Great Lakes fishery biologist based in Charlevoix.

Fish farms threaten Great Lakes

A leading cause is a reduction in alewives, a silvery fish up to 10 inches long that is the salmon's primary prey on the Great Lakes. The alewife population has been decimated by invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have changed the nutrient dynamics of the lakes.

And the salmon population matters for Michiganders, whether they fish or not: The DNR estimates fishermen spent $2.4 billion in fishing trip-related expenses and equipment in the state in 2011.

"We all have a stake — it's not just the charter boat captains who do this for a living," said Denny Grinold, owner of Fish 'N' Grin Charter Service in Grand Haven. "Coastal communities, hotels, shopping will all be impacted."

The U.S. Geological Survey's Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor conducts annual trawling and acoustic surveys on Lakes Michigan and Huron, looking at the populations of prey fish for the Chinook salmon and other sport fish."In recent years, basically what we're seeing is record- or near-record low biomass of alewife," said Science Center research fishery biologist David Warner. He attributes that to the record numbers of Chinook salmon on Lake Michigan in 2012, and their voracious appetite.

Since reintroducing Chinook salmon to the Great Lakes in 1966, the DNR has collected eggs and sperm from salmon migrating into rivers and streams to spawn every fall. The eggs are fertilized and raised in hatcheries, and juvenile fish — called fingerlings — are then stocked in the lakes in the spring to help boost naturally reproducing salmon populations.

The DNR has reduced stocking rates since 1999, from 7 million to 2.5 million Chinook salmon, as it saw the alewife populations sink.

Officials: Sea lamprey numbers down across Great Lakes

The goal now is "to try to bring a better balance between salmon and the prey population in the lake," Claramunt said.

"We're back to 1970 stocking levels; we almost can't go any lower," he said.

In addition to stocking cuts, naturally spawning salmon from that peak year of 2012 also dropped dramatically, due in part to unusually warm conditions and shallow, inaccessible spawning streams that year, Claramunt said. The number of salmon surviving from the spawn that year dropped from 6 million to 1 million, he said.

Further complicating matters, the extremely cold winters of 2013 and 2014 increased the stress on alewife populations.

"We need the warm summers, good precipitation in the spring, and the nutrients coming out into the lakes and getting offshore — like this year," Claramunt said.

Why don't the Chinook salmon feed on another small fish that are thriving in the zebra and quagga mussel-changed lake environment — the invasive round goby? While lake trout and steelhead are doing just that, "Chinook are just hard-wired to feed on alewives," Claramunt said.

"They are meant to feed in open water on open schools of prey fish. They aren't bottom-feeders, and that's where the round goby go."

The DNR has worked closely with state commercial and sport fishing groups on what to do in Lake Michigan.

"They said, 'Prevent a crash that will keep the fishery down for a decade or more. Take action if you can,'" Claramunt said.

A reduced salmon population is a tough reality, but most fishermen understand, Grinold said.

"The bottom line is, we don't want what happened on Lake Huron to happen on Lake Michigan," he said. "To avoid that collapse, this is something we may have to live through for awhile."

In Lake Huron, it was the same story, but happened sooner. DNR officials had an indicator of problems in the lake by 2003, Claramunt said. By 2005, the salmon population there had collapsed, and hasn't recovered.

"The consumption that happened by predators exceeded the ability of alewife to reproduce at a rate that was sustainable. And you had a crash," Warner said. "Historically, there was a larger biomass of alewife in Lake Huron than there was in Lake Michigan."

Despite the cuts in DNR salmon stocking and natural spawning, Grinold said fishing charters don't seem to be down in his area.

"Only time may tell whether or not that impacts clients booking charters; whether they are satisfied with five, seven fish or less; or do they expect those double-digit figures they may have had a couple of years ago."

There are hopeful signs a salmon crash can be averted in Lake Michigan, Claramunt said. After 2013 and 2014 were "a bust," alewives appear to have rebounded this year.

Whether the salmon population decrease happened in time on Lake Michigan to prevent a replay of the Lake Huron crash is "the key question for me," Warner said.

"That's something we're consistently working on."

[This post was last edited on 9/30/15 at 10:46 AM]
The Urban Legend
The Urban Legend
Level: General User
Joined: 5/29/2012
Status: Offline
FISHING REPORT
9/27/15 10:15 AM CST
Found a scum line in 230 fow and popped a bow on a glow bloody nose 60 down so continued to work around there. Ended up 3 for 6. 2 caught on the bloody nose and one on black/green down 55. Couple drive bys on high lines. Got full of weeds and fishing slowed. Didn't mark a ton of fish but had a little action for the last trip of the season. There are fish out there. If you do the same thing every time out, you might want to change your program. Go getem while you still can!

[This post was last edited on 9/27/15 at 11:01 PM]
Big Santa
Big Santa
Level: General User
Joined: 7/24/2002
Status: Offline
9/27/15 10:08 AM CST
What are all of those fish I was marking in 500? Good thermocline between 45 and 65; dropped 10 degrees in that range. Consistently marked fish from 35 to 55. We worked hard, could not entice one hit. Were targeting rainbows, so were on the fast side. Are those all lake trout? Sheephead? Flying carp??

After working that range hard for two hours, we headed west and picked up one average rainbow shallower.

Thought I was watching a horror movie at the fish cleaning station as the man with the sheephead proudly photographed his catch; three skinny ~ 20 inch trout or salmon, and the two big sheephead.

Is that what it's coming to? Lord, hope not.

ditto
ditto
Level: General User
Joined: 12/6/2010
Status: Offline
9/27/15 9:18 AM CST
Fish on, you want the DNR to stock alwives? Remember the original reason for stocking the salmon and trout was to controll the huge numbers of alwives washing up on shore and stinking up the place. Lake Michigan is a dumping ground for every species in the world it seems, try to figure out how to keep the baitfish population up when you have zebra and quaga mussles eating all the invertebreas in the lake? What are the alwive supposed to eat?

Fish Onn
Fish Onn
Level: General User
Joined: 6/22/2006
Status: Offline
9/27/15 8:30 AM CST
What's going on is the total collapse of the Lake Michigan salmon fishery.

No one wants to SAY it, no newspaper wants to write about it, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism doesn't want ANYONE to know it, but the the Lake Michigan salmon fishery as we have known it for the past 50 years is over.

If you believe the WDNR scientists that haven't already been fired, there aren't enough alewives in the lake, justifying the massive stocking reduction in salmon planting.

After a year of marking huge schools of baitfish with no marks around them, I'm not sure I'm buying the lack of baitfish = no stocking.

I definitely don't buy the story line of all the natural reproduction out there. I am more inclined to believe the alternative hypothesis put out by the (now fired) biologists who thought that the non-clipped chinooks were stocked by Canada in Lake Huron and had traveled into northern Lake Michigan in search of food.

Nothing changes the fact that there are a lot less fish out there to catch. What I am sure of is that I will be spending a lot less time and money fishing Lake Michigan next year.

Thank you Big Santa for always posting detailed reports on your fishing trips; even when you don't catch a lot of fish.

Big Santa
Big Santa
Level: General User
Joined: 7/24/2002
Status: Offline
FISHING REPORT
9/26/15 10:43 PM CST
Felt the calling of a run to the Flemish Cap. Ran to 500, set up shop. Marks abundant. Consumptin abundant. Bites were not abundant. Threw everything we had at them, no takers until we got into 320, a 6 pound rainbow.

The best stringer at the cleaning station was the man who had a 15 pound sheaphead caught in the harbor.

What the hell's going on out there??

L U E 42
L U E 42
Level: General User
Joined: 7/13/2009
Status: Offline
FISHING REPORT
9/21/15 9:40 AM CST
Fished solo in 90 to 100 FOW Sunday morning. Water temps were perfect with 58 on the surface and 53 down 40'. Graphed what appeared to be scattered bait around 40' down. Caught 1 rainbow on an orange spoon on 3 color lead core. Missed an unknown fish on a copper/orange spoon on a dipsy with 80 FOL.

The sunrise was amazing.

Displaying Posts 1 through 15 of 6,919


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