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Observations on Cisco


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Here is a report from the GLSI President: Last weekend went ice fishing for Cisco so the GLSI can have first hand observations of what they are consuming.  Understand this is just a winter observation and not a year long analysis BUT brings to light some huge concerns!  We collected stomach samples and whole fish to send to the MDNR for otolith and stomach analysis.  Otolith will give us age of captured fish.

Fishing was slower last Saturday with nice, sunny weather than earlier in the week but with the help of some other fishermen we were able to get samples.

MAKE NO MISTAKE---these planktivores are also predators and are eating ALEWIFE!!  I observed one angler reeling in a fish that puked up 7 alewives and once on the ice still had 8 alewives in it's stomach

What is the concern?  Cisco (LAKE HERRING) have doubled their population in L. Michigan every year since 2011, on their own. We back the MDNR and Tribal interests that caution needs to be exhibited when considering any USFWS efforts to stock Cisco!!  In fact all stakeholders should say NO TO CISCO and YES TO WHITEFISH! 

Shallow water Cisco (Lake Herring) compete with alewife and smelt for food when young then as they get large enough turn on Alewife, Smelt and Gobies for food.  This is a double whammy on the same food that supports our salmon and steelhead fisheries.  The MDNR has worked hard to insure a future salmon fishery in Lake Michigan, through predator level reductions and make no mistake Cisco are predators. The USFWS is trying to sell us that Cisco will be a great bait for Chinook. Are you aware that Pacific Salmon were planted in L. Michigan in the 1800's? Cisco were here at the time and not alewife and they failed! Don't believe that Cisco is a great bait fish for anything other than Lake Trout. These fish get far to big quickly to be eaten by salmon and steelhead and like Lake Trout live for decades---eating what?  Alewives, smelt and Gobies!!

Don't buy the Snake Oil!  This is the fleecing of America!! The USFWS changing over raceways in their hatcheries not being used for Lakers to Cisco production, without state or tribal agreement is damned near criminal.  Remember this is our tax payer monies! Wanting to bring in Gametes from Lake superior Cisco to cross breed with Lakes Michigan and Huron strains for genetic diversity is wrong.  The biologists from the MDNR and tribes we have spoken with including basin coordinators are against this process wanting to maintain GENETIC INTEGRITY. The idea that they can create a market for Cisco is extremely misleading for 3 major reasons. #1 Consumers dictate the market not the producer and cisco is not the quality fish that whitefish are. #2 The commercial fishery has not created a widespread market for Lakers or they would be worth more in the market place as an example. #3 The real money in Cisco is in the roe (eggs) over seas. Table fair is not as good as whitefish except smoking them or Creamed or Pickled Herring.

There is a solution to this problem.  USFWS needs to recognize the economic and angler participation loss to the St of Michigan with the collapse of the salmon fishery in Lake Huron.  Not enough is known about the impact of cisco in Lake Michigan and any efforts by the USFWS to stock them should immediately cease!  We do know that whitefish recruitment over the last 5yrs is very limited and theories from food to predation or a combination are to blame except in southern Green Bay but even there it is at the threshold for continued levels of current production. Plant whitefish to assist in rehabilitation of whitefish, that already have an established market and commercial fishery. The GLSI was told that the internal environment of the USFWS was changing and not just about native fisheries and are in place to support states fisheries management plans and programs.  Continued salmon fisheries is paramount in this invasive lake biological balance, economic status within the states and we ask the USFWS to listen and consider the implications the unknown may bring. 

Shown in the pics are some of the samples taken on the ice and from cleaning them at home.





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