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Size limits on Salmon


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I am starting this thread, because this last season was abysmal for Salmon, We had a great year for Lake trout, and Steelhead were awesome. Salmon, in particular Kings have been the bread and butter for Lake Michigan fishermen for over 48 years, and now we are seeing dwindling numbers of mature fish. I would like to propose a size minimum of 24" for Kings and 15" for Coho, this past spring I released at least 40 10" to 12" natural reproduction Kings, and then get to the marina and see a Charter cleaning these same fish. The DNR is not going to plant more fish, we can protect our fishery by putting restrictions on not only numbers, but size too. I regularly Fish in my home state of Oregon, with my brother who has a rig for river and Ocean fishing, they are limited to barbless hooks, and a 24" length. All Non Hatchery fish have to be released. I don't think that is necessary here, but if we want bigger and more fish, we can do a lot to help ourselves.

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well i think we have a whole lot of other issues but this could be a good experiment. ANOTHER thought i read on john kings website close season. . MANY SPECIES have closed season during spawning but not salmon. if the dnr is selling this natural reproduction line shouldn't spawning females be protected just like many other fish ?

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well i think we have a whole lot of other issues but this could be a good experiment. ANOTHER thought i read on john kings website close season. . MANY SPECIES have closed season during spawning but not salmon. if the dnr is selling this natural reproduction line shouldn't spawning females be protected just like many other fish ?

I personally am open to closed seasons, but the Salmon Spawn has been a hit or miss thing the last few years, I am not against anything that will bolster the Salmon return.

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This idea goes against the DNRs plan to reduce salmon numbers. The idea is to hopefully allow alewives to rebound. Less fish is the plan right now and reducing limits or increasing size minimums goes against this.

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Yup this suggestion is dead on arrival at the Mi DNR The only reason they are still planting kings is to justify budgets, have field workers keep their jobs, and lessen the blow on charters. The best thing to do to continue the fishery would be to drop King and Coho plants for a period of 5 years. Help the alewife population build some spawning year classes and then reintroduce them slowly to find a balance.

Unfortunately this would be too much for many businesses to survive so we have to continue with this precarious balancing act.

Throwing back salmon is the worst thing you can do for sustaining this fishery.

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The problem with kings is that they feed mostly on alewives which are at a low right now so trying to have more kings is not a good idea. Just an idea would be to increase other fish with a broader food base like steelhead and lakers. We all love catch big kings but maybe we need something else until the bait fish rebound. Looking forward to better fishing but I do not see it in the near future. All we can do is hope the DNR knows what they are doing.

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Would you rather have a couple more years of good fishing and destroy the fishery or take drastic measures now to try and give it a future?

Putting your faith in the Michigan DNR to manage our fisheries is a 100% failure due to the fact that they react after the damage is done.

The DNR has had Data collected for years on this and new it was coming.

There solution was to let it happen. I think super tramp is not asking for a few more years of fishing. What he is suggesting is maybe we should take our fishery into our own hands and start practicing good conservation. taking all of the salmon out of the lake and letting the alewife come back is not going to fix the lake. Scientifically with the state the lake is in due to invasive species the lake cant support the amount of alewife needed to have the salmon fisheries that we have all become custom to. The norm is gone and will never be what

it was. This is the results of the DNR's plan. The DNR is a business and its about selling permits, licenses and fees for all sports. Like stated in the other post it is about self preservation of the jobs of all that work for the DNR. WE need to Mange our resources better and our state has failed in all aspects.

What happened to Phesant hunting, what is happening to our deer herd, especially in the UP, Grouse, duck, We have Had land stripped, sold and taken away and

used for its Monetary resource rather than preserving it. When i was kid

these resources were a lot more abundant than now.

I dont know the best way to help preserve our resourses but I have alot of reservations about letting the Michigan DNR mange our resourses.

At some point sportsman have to take ownership and use there own

common sense to keep from loosing Michigan hunting and fishing as we

have come to know it.

Edited by silver one
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I'd like to know the mortality rate of Kings that are brought up from cold water to warm water, that would be interesting.

Also, the lessoning of the Federal lake trout plantings would be a good start too.

Kings often feed in warm water so I doubt it kills them.

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Not that I want to keep small fish but I'm not for it until we see the alewives rebound. Some people talk about "all the bait they are seeing on the graph or in the harbors at times." They are only observing a very small part of a really big lake. My answer to that is if we had all kinds of bait, why has the size of kings gone down? We know we had low king numbers this season so if we had lots of bait, we should have had lots of bigger fish and they were significantly smaller this year. I don't put 100% faith in our DNR but I still think we need to reduce predators and let the bait build up numbers or Lk. Mich will end up like Lk. Huron.

I'm even more concerned that due to mussels, there won't be enough food for alewives to thrive regardless of how much predation we eliminate. Maybe there is nothing we can do to prevent a crash. I hope I'm wrong on this.

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Not that I want to keep small fish but I'm not for it until we see the alewives rebound. Some people talk about "all the bait they are seeing on the graph or in the harbors at times." They are only observing a very small part of a really big lake. My answer to that is if we had all kinds of bait, why has the size of kings gone down? We know we had low king numbers this season so if we had lots of bait, we should have had lots of bigger fish and they were significantly smaller this year. I don't put 100% faith in our DNR but I still think we need to reduce predators and let the bait build up numbers or Lk. Mich will end up like Lk. Huron.

I'm even more concerned that due to mussels, there won't be enough food for alewives to thrive regardless of how much predation we eliminate. Maybe there is nothing we can do to prevent a crash. I hope I'm wrong on this.

Ed, you have to remember fish are cold blooded and we have had two extremely cold winters in a row which would cause the growth rate to suffer .

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Ed, you have to remember fish are cold blooded and we have had two extremely cold winters in a row which would cause the growth rate to suffer .

If you are aware or not the Ideal temperature for Chinook Salmon is around 42 degrees. That is their natural water temperature in the Northern Pacific. The Largest Chinook Salmon in the World come out of those icy cold Alaska and British Columbia streams.

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I'm aware of their low temperature tolerance I have been catching kings for over 35 years in mid 40 degree water.

The last 2 winters have seen the average core temperature of Lake Michigan at historically low levels and below average summer temperatures do not bode well for cold blood creates to grow in the lake.

This lack of warmer water conditions has effected the whole ecosystem of the great lakes.

The difference between the ocean and the great lakes for salmon is that the salmon can migrate thousands of mile to find mid 40 degree+ water if desired but our salmon are landlocked and can't migrate to warmer water if 33-39 degree water is the warmest in the lakes.

Thus slower metabolism slower growth rate.

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Salmon are not Great Lakes fish never have been never will be they were planted to wipe out the Alewife. Now they need to be maintained to keep Alewife in check. That said the Lake Trout planted by the Federal Government is also not a natural fish so that is also a dumb idea since they cannot reproduce in our waters. I have not seen or caught a Lake MI lake trout in well over 40 years. The fact is nearly everything we fish for on the Great Lakes is imported Perch Walleye and Sturgeon are about all that is left of Lake MI fish other than Whitefish which are seldom caught trolling. We have almost no rivers that Salmon can spawn in on a regular basis which is why we have poor returns on natural fish. Now and then we have some river stretches that spawn well but they are the exception not the rule. Salmon were brought here in the late 1800's and failed badly due to nothing to eat and no place to breed. The Alewife explosion of the 50's and 60's wiped out our Perch and Walleye fishing and our Lake Trout as well because when the Trout ate them it made them sterile. So our trout died off and we had beaches covered in stinking Alewife. So once again we brought back Salmon and even though they still could not breed with much success they would however eat Alewives and get big and fat. And a sportfishing industry was born now we want to save the very fish the salmon were brought in to remove. The only way to keep this going is remove as many Salmon as we can less Salmon means more Alewives and bigger fish. The faster we yank them out the more they will have to plant. Who knows maybe someday we will have a better Walleye and Perch fishery back here like the other side of the state.

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Good discussion, I remember when the salmon were introduced, we had overabundance of smelt & alewives, also remember each port town had a fleet of commercial fisherman, and catching 2 perch on a double hook rig was common, for the spring smelt & sucker runs, my grandpa said this is God's gift to the poor - anyways, I think if we want to see the Salmon rebound, we might have to look lower down on the food chain - more phytoplankton & zooplankton to feed the small bait fish? We all remember when Lake MI started to clear up - had to do w/ the invasive mussels & now dealing w/ Spiny Sea Fleas - maybe in the Baltic where the invasives came from there is plankton that is resistant? For the dollars spent on planting, I would like to see some put into spawning & rearing habitat to improve the natural reproduction? And maybe some more planting from NW Pacific stock, to improve the genetic diversity? On a good note, the last two years have seen the Lake level rising, am thinking this will be good for small fish habitat, and help the salmon & trout?

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I think we can all do what we want as individuals but it's not going to make any impact at all. The same thing played out on Huron a few years back.

From what I gathered our area is probably the extreme Northern area where Alewives will even survive. I think a couple of back to back extremely cold Winters played into this sensitive equation.

The Great Lakes have changed tremendously with evasive species like the zebra's etc. The zebras cleared the water to the point where it hurt not only the alewives but all bait fish and even the treasured lake perch. We're dealing with a whole new ecosystem and it will be what it will be.

Herring, a native species to the GLs was reintroduced in some areas with mixed results. The herring fry eat the same things that the rest of the bait fish do. The problem is very complicated and there are no easy fixes.

Bottom Line: As sportsman we can concentrate on the fish that remain and be good stewards of all our natural resources.

Edited by Priority1
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Alewives are an Atlantic Ocean fish. So how does a Pacific Ocean fish become so dependent on them? Also the Chinook and Coho have great spawning success in the Canadian and UP waters. Their success was so great that the Canadians quit planting them about 10 or so years ago. As for Lake Trout I keep every legal one that I can boat. I don't eat many of them but I find someone that will. If they want to get rid of the lake trout lower the size limit, increase the catch limit, and expand the season. There is no reason that they should have a closed season on them except maybe November and December.

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Alewives are an Atlantic Ocean fish. So how does a Pacific Ocean fish become so dependent on them? Also the Chinook and Coho have great spawning success in the Canadian and UP waters. Their success was so great that the Canadians quit planting them about 10 or so years ago. As for Lake Trout I keep every legal one that I can boat. I don't eat many of them but I find someone that will. If they want to get rid of the lake trout lower the size limit, increase the catch limit, and expand the season. There is no reason that they should have a closed season on them except maybe November and December.

Lake Trout are still being stocked, they are the native fish of the Great Lakes, they eat things other than Alewives, they are there for the Native Americans, (Netters) heaven forbid we lose them. Steelhead are also a non native species, they were stocked too. Right now we are decimating the King population, by taking the young that are planted and the natural reproduction fish. My original thought was to at least give the little guys a chance to grow into a decent size fish, but that got shot full of holes.

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Everyone seems to think that the lake trout are there for native american commercial fishermen. There has to be a market for them otherwise they are no good. Lately there has not been much of a market for them. My neighbor is a commercial fisherman and he is always asking me if I want a lake trout.

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Everyone seems to think that the lake trout are there for native american commercial fishermen. There has to be a market for them otherwise they are no good. Lately there has not been much of a market for them. My neighbor is a commercial fisherman and he is always asking me if I want a lake trout.

All the more reason to just keep dumping them in the lake.:confused:

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