States want to reduce stocked fish
Written by Detroit News   
Thursday, 22 September 2005 14:36
Fisheries officials from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin will meet Saturday in Kenosha, Wis., to discuss plans for reduced salmon stocking in Lake Michigan. The states want to avoid the kind of population crash that was experienced in Lake Huron. Salmon are being caught in near-record numbers in Lake Michigan, but the salmon are smaller, an indication that there are fewer bait fish to feed on.

Lake Huron's salmon harvest has dropped from about 1.1 million in 1997 to 400,000 last year, but Lake Michigan's catch has grown from about 200,000 in 1993 to nearly 900,000 last year. Michigan biologists think a reduction in stocked salmon would prevent Lake Michigan fish from exceeding the prey base that supports them.

Charles Raymond of Grand Rapids, who was fishing for salmon on the Betsie River near Benzonia last weekend, said, "There were a lot of fish Friday and Saturday. I must have caught 50 in two days. But there's no question they're smaller than last year and a lot smaller than two years ago.

"I'd guess the average fish was down to about eight to 10 pounds from 12 to 15 two years ago, and I don't think I saw a real 20-pounder landed. Usually, you'll catch four or five a day that top 20."

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