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No Steelhead Egg Take for 2021 Spring Plants

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Due to the Covid virus, the Michigan DNR will not be harvesting steelhead eggs this month at the Little Manistee weir.  The weir gates have been opened and all steelhead will be allowed to run upstream.   This means there will be no steelhead plants in spring 2021.  The is a bummer but it is being done to protect DNR worked who are packed in tightly together inside the weir building when taking eggs.

The GLSI is advocating to replace those steelhead with kings based on steelhead equivalents. This will result in no net increase of predators, just replacing the 2021 steelhead with a smaller number of kings equivalent to the cancelled steelhead plant. Since the kings are only in the hatchery for 6 months, they can use the raceways for the 2022 class of steelhead who's eggs will be harvested in spring 2021.  We love steelhead and hope plants can be restored for 2022.   There is some natural reproduction in some rivers so that will it for the next year.

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Thanks for sharing.  Maybe allowing all these fish to naturally spawn will lead to an increase in fish on the Little Manistee.  Wonder why the good numbers of steelhead seem to be missing the last few years on the big lake.

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I hope so. I saw on some FB pages that people were screaming to close the Little Manistee.    There is an upstream limit to fishing there when it opens April 1 and there is a spawning sanctuary upstream of that limit so there will be a lot more fish laying eggs this year there. 

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Lots of skipper steel around the beach last fall.  Maybe they can help fill the void.

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I'm hoping some natural reproduction can keep it going.

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Some browns would fill in the near shore void left by steel.  Up until they cut the plants down here, we'd get plenty of browns mixed in with the steel on every lake flip.

Fished for four hours today.  A half an hour to find the Lakers, a half an hour to limit on those, then two and a half hours trolling back to harbor on the beach not expecting anything and not catching anything.  Only reason I wasted my time trying was I was five miles south of port looking head long into solid two footers with no crew to weigh down the bow, so there was no point in trying to plane out and take a beating.

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I'd love to see our Brown Trout fishery improve. I don't think we can raise them in the steelhead hatchery space in 6 months since they can't get add'l Brown eggs till this fall. They typically spend 1 to 1-1/2 years in the hatchery till planting size. I've always wondered if we concentrated some huge plants in a few ports if we could develop a Brown fishery like Milwaukee harbor?

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They've been trying this up north by planting all the browns in a few ports at the expense of all others.

It's been a spectacular failure.

Contact I have in Frankfort which got four browns last year.  I got three in one trip 91.7 miles from the nearest planting site to me which is not in Michigan.

 

Was not sure how long browns needed to be held or for that matter where the brood stock originates.  

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I agree with you the experiment to move Brown Trout up north has not worked well. I think it was worth a try.  The prior stocking strategy was not working to  provide significant plant to creel returns.  The move up north has not worked out well either but in that case, they still did not concentrate plants into a couple ports.   Just about every port from Pentwater north all the way to Menominee got browns.   I'm not sure returning to the prior stocking strategy of spreading out plants across all the Michigan ports will do any better that in the past.   Browns are about the most expensive fish to raise to stock due to the long time in the hatchery.   Not sure what we should do going forward but I'm wondering if we did 2-3 huge plants like St Joe, Muskegon and Manistee(pick any 2-3)  and put all browns into those ports, could we develop a fishery like Milwaukee Harbor? Maybe switch the 2-3 ports every year over a 3 year cycle and evaluate what works best?

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