MI DNR begins annual Lake Huron spring lake trout survey

Earlier this month the Michigan Department of Natural Resources began its annual spring lake trout survey on Lake Huron. This survey provides the DNR and its partner agencies with key information as they look to manage lake trout populations in the lake.

Since the Chinook salmon population in Lake Huron crashed in the mid-2000s, lake trout consistently have provided one of the best fishing opportunities there. Data from this annual survey show that for the first time in 40 years, Lake Huron’s lake trout population is nearly 50 percent wild. Gathering this type of information each year helps fisheries managers determine future stocking numbers and set fishing regulations.

“What we learn from this study directly affects management decisions such as numbers of fish stocked, minimum size limits and daily possession limits,” said Ji He, DNR fisheries research biologist out of Alpena. “It’s important for us to monitor trends over time so we can better adjust our future management.”

This survey consists of setting gill nets at 14 different sampling locations from Drummond Island in the north to Port Sanilac in the south. Nets are set overnight and lifted the next day. Lake trout that are captured are measured and weighed, have an upper jaw bone removed for age analysis and have their stomach contents examined.

This year’s effort is the first full survey to be conducted aboard the DNR’s newest research vessel Tanner.

“Having a safe and reliable vessel like the R/V Tanner is essential to support our assessment,” said He.

For more information on the R/V Tanner, Lake Huron fisheries research efforts or fishing for lake trout, visit michigan.gov/fishing.

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