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DNR planting of salmon almost to nothing


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I wanted to bring to everyone's attention the salmon population in the Great Lakes. I'm only 18 years old but yet I was able to do the research on the DNR stocking and figured out that the DNR have cut stocking by a substantial amount. For the Kalamazoo River at the dam they were planting just over 50,000 chinook salmon around 2012. From 2013 until now they cut back to nearly 10,000 Chinook. It seems to be the same story everywhere from Ludington south on the Lake Michigan shores of Michigan.

License prices have gone up for almost everything and the DNR slightly increased stocking of the walleye, coho, and Lakers it appears. But it doesn't seem enough to make up for the money not spent on chinook salmon stocking. So where is all of our money going? Where is one of our largest fishing industries going to turn?

I have heard that the DNR quit planting chinooks because of a bait problem. Last time I was out September 20, 2015 me and my dad marked football field size pods of baitfish. We didn't just mark one. We marked around 5 of them and there were no fish at all around them. We also marked smaller groups of bait as well.

I hope that gives you something to think about and I hope you start asking questions like I have.

Edited by CornHusker
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It's not the amount of bait it's the amount of protein stored in the bait. The alewife have been forced to eat Krill that have lower protein counts due to the preferred krill being wiped out by filter feeders. This means they have to eat more to survive. If they eat more then we need more alewife to sustain a equal population. DNR is fighting a losing battle. I hope the higher fees are being used to solve such issue but this will take time and sound science not just planting more fish. That would cause a complete failure of the system.

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CornHusker, it is great that you are concerned about the salmon planting levels. Here is some good information that you should read: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/Chinook_Salmon_Fact_Sheet_and_Frequently_Asked_Questions_-_FINAL_450285_7.pdf

The reduction in salmon plants is not a secret and the DNRs of the surounding states took a lot of input from their biologists along with the public with hearings for a couple of years before taking this drastic step. Hopefully the lake can stabilize and both the numbers and size of the salmon will return to the levels of the past. It isn't the first time the salmon have faced issues and have bounced back. A combination of 2 very cold hard winters plus the significant change that the zebra & quagga mussels have caused in the food chain have compounded today's situation. Signs are that the DNRs have acted soon enough to prevent Lake Michigan's salmon from going the way of Lake Hurons.

It should be noted too that people I talked to fishing Lake Ontario were also very disappointed with the catches they have had in both numbers and size for the last two years too. Personally I think the winters of the last two years have had more to impact the fishing than the cuts. The fish just have not been where they are traditionally but with pretty cold temps until July this year, it is not hard to understand.

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