Salmon numbers are down
Written by Soo Evening News   
Wednesday, 07 September 2005 05:21
Those who thought the bite was slow during the nine-day salmon derby will certainly have their opinion backed up by the numbers. During the 2004 salmon derby there were 476 fish weighed compared to only 207 this year. There is also the belief that a larger percentage of the salmon were weighed this year, making that difference even more dramatic. "Where have all the salmon gone," seemed to be the question on most people's lips throughout the derby. The answer may not come for at least a couple of weeks, if not longer.

"It's higher than normal," said Fisheries Biologist Roger Greil of the Lake Superior State University Aquatics Lab of the St. Mary's River water temperatures. "I think it's normally 61 degrees. It is 65 degrees right now. Four degrees doesn't sound like a lot to us, but to fish it's quite a bit."

If that is the case, the fish may come pouring into the river before the month is out.

"We might get a good run two to three weeks from now," said Greil.

Greil also added the fish he did see this year seemed to be "plumper," or healthier than the ones that showed up last season. While there may be fewer fish returning, they are in better shape than some of the emaciated stick fish that came back last season.

"Our numbers were down, but the fish were nice looking," he said.

Greil also indicated the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' decision to eliminate salmon stocking does not sound the death knell for the St. Marys River salmon populations. He estimated that 75 percent of the returning salmon result from natural reproduction.

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