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TOPIC: Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19

Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 11, 2019 6:25 am #25216

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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative

Fishing season isn't over yet; there is still late season lake fishing going on, rivers are being pounded for kings and in a month steelhead should be providing angling opportunities. On Sept. 17th the Lake Michigan Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee will be meeting to discuss the current season, on-coming issues and future possible stocking plans.

This season shows tremendous promise! Reports of bait all around the lake, smelt dipping limits this spring from virtually every port, marking lots of bloaters, high water resulting in increased nutrient loads. **Massive Kings, Captain Chucks in Ludington has weighed in over 100 30+lb Kings this season** Agencies are coming up with a new Lake Trout model that should demonstrate a more accurate trout population. Lake wide (all states) looking at a 450K combined Chinook increase for 2020. Talk about rewriting FCO's (Fish Community Objectives), FCO's written are to provide goals for catch objectives. The last 3yrs lake wide we have exceeded the laker objectives but have failed to meet the combined trout and silver fish objectives.

What is your opinion of the season? Do you like the opportunity for a trophy fishery, the opportunity to catch a couple fish but one might push 30lbs? The vast majority of the people we spoke with want the opportunity to catch more fish. Keep hearing comments of people selling their boats and getting out of the fishery, not here to target trout! Charters appreciate the opportunity to target trout for tails and scales in the bucket, BUT the GLSI again recognizes and represents all facets of the industry---recreational anglers, tackle shops, party stores, coastal communities that capitalize on the fishery. Not all ports are created equal--several don't have trout available all year to target and increasing trout plants will not fix this. Northern ports are only allowed to harvest 1-2 trout per angler---a look don't touch fishery.

Rivers!! Currently the salmon run is on! There is a lot of participation on the rivers now compared to 2&3yrs ago. This is awesome, this is what the fish are planted for but also brings up the question of protecting natural production. Some anglers complaining about all the stringers--fish being harvested, wrecking the redds. What are the true natal numbers? What is the mortality rate of planted fish in their first year---when agencies compare fin clip vs non-clip for natal numbers. Do you want to see seasonal river closures, creel reductions, release only sections, keep reading these comments on facebook? Keep in mind that this would reduce angler participation, decrease economic impact and then we would rely on natal production and swings in production numbers every year. Food for thought---controlling numbers through planting is far more accurate and provides fisheries for more ports, at the same time we are reaching for straws because that is all we have!

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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 11, 2019 8:27 am #25217

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On rivers with natural reproduction an effort should be made to make sure Salmon are able to reach spawning areas. A few sections of rivers recognized as spawning areas could be closed to fishing or lowering daily bag limits during spawning runs could also help larger numbers of returning fish find suitable areas for spawning.
I could only hope the southern end of Lake Michigan (which has no naturally reproduced returning fish to fall back on in the late summer and fall months) receives some of the increased stocking. We were not contributing to the overpopulation problem and are left with only trout once the Steelhead enter the rivers.
The south end had bait all season and could have easily supported more Salmon providing a viable fall fishery. I like the idea of catching more fish while still maintaining a balance capable of supporting a few large fish. Indiana has had a world class fishery in the spring the last few years but that hasn't always been the case. Silver fish were scarce in spring tournaments and boats were fishing in 200' of water + looking for small Coho feeding on possum shrimp. We rely solely on other people's fish in the spring and years of poor reproduction in the North result in almost non existent Salmon fishing all year long in the South.
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 6:15 am #25233

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I am surprised to see only one person answered this post so far. How has your fall fishing been? Are you killing them? Not yet? Maybe the water is to warm? Still waiting for them to come in? Not trying to be a smartass here, but were are all them king pictures at. How much money is being spent for fall fishing?How many are being caught? 2016 Fish were stocked at all 3 ports. Approx. 60,000 + at each.

Just remember that there has been more 30 lb kings caught this year Lake Wide then ever in the history of kings being stocked in Lake Michigan. Did you get yours? I know of 1, 30+ caught in Indiana!
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 7:35 am #25234

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I've fished the fall king run religiously for the last 36 years in Michigan city taking a weeks vacation during the labor day weekend. Typically a few fish start showing up the last week of August and the main run around the 4th or 5th of September. Weather and water conditions would dictate how long the fish would stay in front of the harbor (usually a week or two before a rain or high pressure system from the North would push them in). Fall fishing this year for silver fish was terrible. Charter boats we talked to were catching one silver fish a week the month of August. While there was an occasional large king boated, it was rare. We fished the last Coho Club tournament and decided to stay in front of the harbor hoping to find a few returning fish. Pre fished Friday and found no fish other than drum. Saturday fished morning (no fish) and evening found two kings late in the evening weighing approx. 13 lbs. ea. Stopped fishing at 10:00 pm. Sunday morning boated an 18.5 king and lost another at the boat. Our 18.5 king was largest for the tournament and second place king came in at 5.65 lbs. Not a good showing when you consider some of the best boats on the bottom of the lake fished what should have been the best opportunity to put returning kings in coolers in front of multiple harbors.. I suspect the high water is moving some fish into the creeks early but the stocking cuts have now given us an indication of what to expect in the future. Sure, there will be a few stragglers in the next couple of weeks but past experience tells me it was over before it started. With an expected 0.5% return rate and only 60,000 fish stocked, the math tells the story. The south end isn't the place to fish once the Steelhead are in the rivers.
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 12:43 pm #25240

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Ed I've been out two weekends in a row, the first trip out with my dad and while he had a blast catching big drum I was disappointed. Second trip out with a neighbor and a king heavy spread of jplugs and mag spoons, only 2 drum and a shaker coho came to play. It's been a rough season for kings in my boat this year. I'll give it one more shot this weekend but it's starting to feel like to me a lot of effort for no reward of the screaming reel like years past.
sylvan troller 16
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 5:01 pm #25243

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Storm Junkie,
Thanks for your thoughts on the this fall fishing. And,,, congrats on 36 years of fishing our beautiful lake. With that time you have seen just about everything that has been thrown at this fishery. This fall is a tuff one for sure.

Alvin thanks you for jumping in, was hoping You might have better news but it's been about the same here

This is a topic that everyone should be getting in on. Or is everyone ok with the fishery as it sits.? This isn't about taking a cheap shot but about opening up a discussion on our fall fishery. Records seem to being set in some parts of the lake and we are struggling here for fish. Indiana has never had naturals so we are get blessed with out of state fish for a portion of the season. Come July many start watching weather more then we normally do as it is soon time for the fish we have been fishing to break away and go back to their home ports. August is a month of Lake Trout fishing. September was always looked forward to for a few fall Kings.
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 5:29 pm #25244

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Fishing has sucked for nearshore kings, thats for sure. While we need more fish, we need fish that are going to survive as juveniles. Making that happen seems to be a challenge but understood by our local biologists. I hope they can make it happen with their political superiors......
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 6:32 pm #25246

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I appreciate the effort to start this discussion Lickety-Split. I trust Ben is listening and will make an honest effort to find more kings for us. The yearly stocking rotation system we have now isn't going to fly and the numbers aren't going to make anyone happy.
I could be wrong but I fear holding over Steelhead and Coho Salmon to release as yearlings in the St. Joe might tie up the hatchery space previously used for raising Chinook Smolts making it difficult to increase the stockings to support a fall fishery. I lived for the fall king run and would like to see it return when the lake can support it. Judging from the size of the fish this year we could afford an increase in stocking numbers.
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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 13, 2019 7:48 pm #25248

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Seems like nothing going to change till we start stocking large numbers and stocking habits change. DNRs not stupid they know what works and what doesn’t. Like stocking fish so close to the mouth instead of miles down the river to let them get bigger and imprint. All this talk of naturals is hog wash. From what I read they are coming from Huron on the Canadian side and not in these huge numbers as we are lead to believe. Lake trout is there Priority and a natural lake which won’t never be that. The reason for the big change is Wisconsin getting involved and questioning. Like I stated in other post Whether we stock or not we’re going to still have the same fishery we have till June and then lakers offshore. I’ve been catching some lakers in close for weeks now. Big brutes and they love warm water. That’s right lake carp they fight harder then lake trout and taste as bad. Best of all no boat Required. Fish on

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Great Lakes Salmon Initiative 9/10/19 Sep 14, 2019 6:53 am #25253

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StormJunkie wrote: I appreciate the effort to start this discussion Lickety-Split. I trust Ben is listening and will make an honest effort to find more kings for us. The yearly stocking rotation system we have now isn't going to fly and the numbers aren't going to make anyone happy.
I could be wrong but I fear holding over Steelhead and Coho Salmon to release as yearlings in the St. Joe might tie up the hatchery space previously used for raising Chinook Smolts making it difficult to increase the stockings to support a fall fishery. I lived for the fall king run and would like to see it return when the lake can support it. Judging from the size of the fish this year we could afford an increase in stocking numbers.

I believe your right StormJunkie, I believe Ben is listening and will do his best to secure more fish if they become available. Would like to meet you StormJunkie I used to be a member of HCC but am not presently. I used to bring custom Pre Rapala thinfins for door prizes.Maybe it is time to work my way back to a meeting and say hello!
I wish more fishermen would jump on this post and give there thoughts as you and some of the others have done.
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