Brown trout headed for Lake Michigan
Written by Manitowoc Herald TImes   
Sunday, 26 June 2005 17:25
Coho are out; browns are in.? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday planted 25,000 brown trout, at about 3 inches each, into a rearing pond at the Lincoln Park Zoo. They?re destined to grow a few more inches before moving on to Lake Michigan in October.

Most previous plantings into the 150,000-gallon pond have been coho salmon fingerlings, according to Roy Berres, pond manager for the past 20 years and a member of Northeast Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen.

Berres said studies show that coho don?t stick around the area after release into Lake Michigan, and often migrate to points south like Indiana and Illinois.

?That?s not doing our sport fishermen much good if we rear them and other states get the benefit,? Berres said.

Hence the switch to brown trout, an already-popular target of area fishermen.

?Cohos are an ocean strain of fish and have a larger range, but browns are a more domesticated fish and stick closer to home,? said Duke DuBois, of the Kewaunee office of the DNR.

Local fishermen are reporting fewer coho catches in recent years, according to Berres.

Brown trout, which range from 3 to 12 pounds, are caught in larger numbers from boats and off the piers in Manitowoc and surrounding areas of Lake Michigan.

It will take the browns several years to reach full size, DeBois said.

They will be released into the Manitowoc River near the submarine USS Cobia this fall, before making their way into Lake Michigan. DuBois said the brown trout?s survival rate is ?generally pretty good.? He estimates 99 percent will survive the rearing pond, but after that gulls and cormorants can take a toll on the young fish.

The fingerlings were raised from eggs at the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery in central Wisconsin. The eggs were collected from the Kewaunee, Root and Marinette rivers.

The 3-inch fish will be given pellet food in their temporary home, administered through an automatic feeder every 10 minutes, at 10 seconds a pop. Water in the rearing pond is recycled at 100 gallons per minute.

Another 15,000 brown trout fingerlings will be planted in the pond when the current batch is deemed lake-worthy, Berres said.

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