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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Salmon in Lake Huron

Here is an interesting article from "MLive.com" about Atlantic Salmon in Lake Huron.  It quotes Frank Krist, who lives in Rogers City and serves as Chairman of the Fisheries Advisory Board.  Fishing in our areas is definately better now that it has been for almost a decade.
State Moves to Stock Lake Huron with Atlantic Salmon
Published: Monday, December 03, 2012, 8:14 AM Updated: Monday, December 03, 2012, 8:19 AM
Lake Huron’s thriving lake trout, steelhead and smallmouth bass fishery will become even more diverse next year.
State fish managers plan to ramp up stocking of Atlantic salmon.  “I like to call this the transition
period,” said Todd Grischke, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Lake Huron Basincoordinator. “This started as a rearing experiment. We have been through three years of rearing cycles withlimited success. Now, we’re moving from the rearing to the stocking component.”  
Lake Huron will get 60,000 to 80,000 Atlantic salmon yearlings starting in 2013. That could climb to 120,000 in
future years if more can be produced at Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah,
Grischke said. His agency has spent three years learning how to raise them. The hatchery
primarily has been used to rear Chinook and Coho salmon. Growing Atlantics from an egg to
yearling stage is a bit trickier, he said.

The Platte River facility draws water from the Platte River. Atlantic salmon are more susceptible
than Coho and Chinook to diseases such as furunculosis and whirling disease, which might be
present in the water. A $150,000 ultraviolet water filter was installed to reduce the potential for
disease, a problem that initially plagued the experimental program.
Frank Krist, of Rogers City, said he is pleased with the decision to stock Atlantic salmon. Krist
chairs the state’s Lake Huron Citizen’s Advisory Committee. He fishes Lake Huron four to five
times a week and favors a multispecies fishery.
“On Lake Huron, it’s not unusual to come back from fishing with two or three different species in
the cooler,” Krist said. “Adding another, Atlantic salmon, will make for an exciting fishery out there.”

The idea to stock Atlantic salmon originated with Krist and others, all members of the Hammond
Bay Area Anglers.  The group was aware of the success Lake Superior State University has had growing and
stocking them on the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie. Group members urged the DNR to attempt the
same, hoping to fill the void created by the Lake Huron Chinook salmon collapse in 2004.
Atlantics are expected to survive where Chinook did not because they are opportunistic feeders.
Their diet is more diverse than Chinooks, which only feed on alewives.
The alewife collapse, because of invasive mussels stripping the lake of the plankton they eat,
proved good for lake trout, which have flourished since. Alewives contain a compound called
thiamanse, which interferes with lake trout reproductive success. Once the alewives disappeared,
the lake trout population grew again.

“For all the bad news we got about Lake Huron (when the collapse occurred), the walleye, lake
trout and steelhead are going gangbusters,” Grischke said. “We will be marking the Atlantic
salmon and hope to get information about them in the open water creel census. Hopefully, we will
see some success on a limited scale.”

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