Archives for May 2017

Tagged fish provide DNR with critical information

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources again this year is encouraging Great Lakes anglers who catch marked and tagged fish to report them. The DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to mass mark various fish species in Michigan since the 1980s. Mass marking provides critical data as fisheries biologists look to determine the value of naturally reproduced fish versus stocked fish, and lakewide movement of fish.

The coded-wire tag program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish containing a coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed. An angler who catch a tagged fish then can record needed information about the fish, remove and freeze the fish’s snout, and drop it off at a designated location. A statewide list of dropoff locations can be found on the DNR website.

For years the DNR primarily tagged Chinook salmon and lake trout as part of its mass marking effort in Lake Huron. Tagging these fish has helped biologists understand more about lakewide natural reproduction and how many wild fish are available in the Great Lakes. It also has helped determine if the percentage of wild fish varies from year to year and how fish stocking locations contribute to lake and river fisheries. Additionally, it provides insight into fish movement and where fish are stocked compared to where they are caught.

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DNR creel clerks to collect angler information this summer

As this year’s open-water fishing season gets under way, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that Fisheries Division personnel are at lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports collecting fishing data from anglers.

Giant Lake Erie Pike

Monster Lake Erie Northern Pike aboard the Stray Cat

DNR creel clerks will be stationed at boat launches and piers around the state asking anglers questions as they return from fishing trips. Information will be requested on trip length, target species and number and type of fish caught. In some cases, creel clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and to take scale or other body parts for aging. These data are key information in the DNR’s management of the state’s fisheries resource.

The DNR appreciates anglers’ cooperation with these interviews, and it will only take a couple of minutes to answer the questions.

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Michigan DNR Encourages Boater Safety

National Safe Boating Week set for May 20-26

With boating season around the corner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage boaters to make their pastime more enjoyable by following important safety tips. Saturday, May 20, marks the start of National Safe Boating Week and the DNR wants all Michigan residents and visitors to have fun while exercising caution and obeying the law.

walleye fishing charter Lake Erie Michigan

Lake Erie walleye fishing

The DNR encourages boaters to:

Wear a life jacket. About 85 percent of drownings resulting from boating accidents in the U.S. are due to people not wearing life jackets. In Michigan, anyone under the age of 6 must wear a life jacket when on the open deck of any vessel, but wearing a personal flotation device is recommended for everyone.

Avoid drinking alcohol. Nationally, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents where the primary cause was known.

Make sure the boat is properly equipped and equipment is in good working order. In addition to legally required equipment, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor. Make sure navigation lights work properly.

File a float plan. Always inform family or friends about the details of your trip. Let them know when to expect you back. Give them phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in case you don’t return on time.

Stay alert. Watch for other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water. This is especially true when operating in crowded waterways, at night and when visibility is restricted.

Carry a marine radio or cell phone. Be prepared to call for help if you are involved in or witness an accident, your boat or the boat of another becomes disabled or you need medical assistance. Program the numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in your cell phone. Make sure your phone is fully charged but be aware that there often are coverage gaps on the water.

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