This Thursday at the uwm freshwater institute in Milwaukee @ 6pm there will be a meeting about the proposed stocking cuts that the dnr wants to start in the spring of 2017. For me personally and professionally I believe this cut should NOT happen, at least not yet. We have been cutting kings for the last 5 years and dumping record numbers of lake trout in on the federal level which also eat the alewive and live for 20 years. The amount of bait that we are seeing on a day to day basis doesn't lead me to believe that now is the right time. Everyone needs to hear the proposed plan, and get educated on what is going on with this fishery. Once we start losing our stocking numbers I think we will never get them back, even if the alewive "bounce back", which seems to be happening, or maybe we never had a problem. you decide. Not to mention we are not even getting the numbers of rainbow, browns, and coho that we are suppose to be getting already. Please get educated on this by attending.
Good summation eyecatcher.
I would add that the DNR stressed that Lake Michigan is NOT crashing, this cut in stocking is a preventative measure.
The DNR stressed that if we do nothing, and the forage is dwindling the lake could crash and we're screwed for an unknown amount of time.
The DNR stressed that if we cut, and the forage surveys are wrong, we can just increase stocking in a year or two, and in the meantime the salmon in the lake will just get bigger due to the possible prey abundance.
In regards to the Lake Trout plan it was explained in our group that the Lake Trout stocking is tied to the lake restoration plan that USFWS has been conducting for decades. The WI DNR could ask USFWS to reduce stocking in WI waters but that just means those trout will get stocked in another states waters unless all four states ask for Lake Trout stocking reductions.
At the bottom of the page is a link to send comments before July 31.
Thanks for that report
Thanks for info eye catcher. Does anyone know why the federal government is pushing lake trout down are throat. It's another prime example of them sticking there nose where it don't belong. I don't think you will ever see commercial fishing gone
Did they have any literature they handed out or did they provide a time frame for when the presentation and Q&A may be made available on the DNR's website?
I think the different groups are viewing it through two different sets of glasses. This year many sportsmen are seeing an abundance of alewives, hallelujah!! they're back, no need to cut back on stocking. The various DNRS are looking at it through a different set of glasses in all of LM. They see only one year class of alewives instead of many year classes doing the spawning, a sure sign of disaster, if that one class should collapse. You would probably be looking at another Lake Huron.
Thanks for the info!
Went to the meeting last night. Pretty decent turnout (maybe 100 guys and gals). I left feeling better informed, but not too much more optimistic about the future of our fishery..... For those of you who couldn't go, here's a few bullet point from the night.
* Night started with a presentation on what many of us already knew, but was good to see some of the data behind it.
-Alewife numbers are at an all time low. Seems like we had a good year class in 2015. May be due to a mild winter, but one year of alewives does not constitute a rebound in their population. Time will tell.
-We have an imbalanced predator:prey ratio. (P:P) There are too many predators in the lake which rely on alewife for their primary food source. Therefore, predator stocking must continue to be reduced until we see significant rebound in alewife populations. Which may or may not ever happen.
-The DNR seems interested in exploring other options for predators in LM which may not rely on alewife as much to survive (i.e. splake, tiger trout, and atlantics) It didn't seem as if anybody had much interest in this besides the DNR.
-The DNR also showed some of the ways that they are working to ensure the survival of stocked fish, and possible future options (i.e. net penning, night stocking, and predatory bird hazing) Why this would matter if there's supposedly nothing for them to eat, I do not know.
*From there we broke into smaller groups of around 20 people. There we were able to discuss more in depth, what we would like to see regarding three main topics.
#1 What should be done with chinook stocking?
#2 What kind of species mix would we ideally like to see?
#3 What measures would we like to see taken to promote survival of stocked fish?
Obviously, there were many different opinions on what we would like to see. We got to voice them, and the DNR personal noted them. Where they will go from here, I once again do not know....
The major points that I felt almost everybody in our group agreed on were as follows.
-IF we need to reduce chinook stocking, in order to ensure their survival for the future, lets do it. But we still want chinooks stocked every year.
-We want the stocking of Lake Trout by the federal government to be greatly reduced as well. IF not haulted completely. (Unfortunately, I get the feeling that there is nothing that we, or the DNR can do to stop this.
-Commercial fishing should be stopped on Lake Michigan. They take large numbers of our ever dwindling biomass out to this day, and are allowed to sell their bicatch (alewife and smelt) to pet food companies.
I'm sure that there are a lot of things that I missed and some that I got wrong. But, thats the jist of what I took away from the meeting. I really do think that the DNR is on our side, and wants to help us sustain the fishery for as long as we can. There are a lot of things working against us though, and some may be bigger than we can do anything about.
The most important thing though, is we have an amazing fishery that's red hot right now! Go get em while you can.
Do to this thing called work I will not have a chance to go to this series of meetings. That being said for those who have a chance please post facts and your "feelings" on how they went.
Thanks in advance