WUOMFM

Proposed salmon cuts upset some fishermen

Jul 19, 2016

Headed out to go salmon fishing on Lake Michigan near Grand Haven.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A proposal to reduce the number of Pacific salmon stocked into Lake Michigan has upset some sport fishermen. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently took a poll of its advisory group.

It found about 40% of those surveyed were against the plan.

Millions of king salmon have been planted in Lake Michigan since the 1960s, as many as seven million fish a year at the peak. That has created a booming sport fishery.

But there is not much food for salmon in the lake these days, so fewer fish are being stocked.

Anglers have supported these cuts in the past.

But the latest proposal would drop the number of king salmon stocked in Lake Michigan well below a million. Some sport fishermen say it is an overreaction and want other options considered.

Jay Wesley with the DNR says charter boat captains are particularly worried, because the news about stocking cuts is bad for business.

"Regardless of how many fish you’re catching out there, people read headlines and they decline to book a charter. That’s a marketing and messaging problem we all have," he says.

Wesley says there are many wild salmon in Lake Michigan and they're reproducing well on their own.