The Wisconsin DNR posted a press release on January 19, 2018
I strongly think the limit will be at 5. The dnr board amended it to 3 at the board meeting in December, then the powers that be sent it back to them to have another look before making the permanent rule. I am with you guys on every point you made in your posts. The laker arguement is starting to gain some traction at the state level. It will be a long road, but if we ever want to see Lake Michigan in its glory again then we need to keep spreading the word.
Michigan is under a consent decree from the tribes. They have to stock Lake Trout. I think it is just in the north. I also have no idea why these people want to eat these pcb and mercury laden fish. Maybe they only eat small ones? Anyway, the problem is somewhat intractable. Lakers eat anything for the most part and live forever. Kings don't. Lakers are doing very well in Southern Lake Michigan and not so well in Northern Lake Michigan. I think they need to stop stocking the mid lake reef and southern refuges or at least reduce it. You can't just flood the lake with kings again. It will crash the alewife. Alewife are really all they eat. To me the prudent thing to do is cut the Laker stocking accept for consent decree waters, hold the king stocking constant while watching the prey surveys closely, and hope that the alewife can come back strong enough to eventually increase the king stocking. The mid lake reef is likely teeming with Lakers. It's too far out for me to go and I don't really need to.
2016 August was really quite good for kings in MKE. 2017 was horrible, but the turd fishing was really good at the end of August and into September. It felt like the returns were much better which I think is attributable to the recovery to some extent of the alewife. While I did see a lot bait balls this year, I would not call it flooded with bait like 2016 was when we had dieing alewives all over the place. We did an extended family charter with Jason at the end of July. We did not go over a single bait ball, but we caught plenty of fish (Lakers, Kings, Steelies).
Yes, those "wild" kings are from Huron and the Michigan Streams on Lake Michigan. They seem to make up a good portion of the total king population (mainly because stocking has been cut so low - therefore a similar number of wild kings each year = a higher percentage of the total population.) The whole population of kings will move around the entire lake. Once August rolls around, yes, those 3-4 year old "wild" kings will move back to where they came from and the fish we stocked will come back home and start staging. Lots of guys in Michigan were complaining about the lack of kings once August rolled around as well... some of those natural kings will run early. Check out this FB page - a guide was getting natural kings on the Muskegon river in early August already https://www.facebook.com/FishingGuideMichigan/posts/658892404310357
I know most charter guys want the kings increased - I do too. However, I want to make sure we have multiple alewife year classes before we start increasing our predator population. Ideally, they would cut lakers all together - but the USFW is shoving them down our throats. Wisconsin declined some lakers last year - but Michigan ended up stocking them instead... so while Wisconsin might look good, the end result was the same - same number of lakers planted. The other thing to keep an eye on is the cisco stocking. That's the new fed baby that they'll try to shove down our throat. Anecdotally, there's been a bunch of cisco caught full of alewives.
Lakers don't just eat the alewives, but they'll also eat anything. Including stocked fish. There was a presentation that showed a laker caught in Huron (I believe it was huron, could've been Michigan) that had 35 freshly stocked Chinook in it's stomach. That laker was only 8 lbs. Imagine how many freshly stocked fish a laker population could eat. Everybody worries about the cormorants... but lakers are the garbage disposal of Lake Michigan. They'll eat anything they can get into their big ole mouth.
As far as the Lake Trout rule - it was only an emergency "trial" rule to begin with. They still needed to go through the proper procedures to get the rule finalized. Why this wasn't done while the emergency rules was in effect, I have no idea (other than if they wanted to see what everybody thought of it first). They sho