Michigan Catch and Cook

 DNR Director Keith Creagh, NRC Chairman Tim Nichols, along with radio host Tom Lounsberry, Bill Parker of Michigan Outdoor News, and outdoor columnist Bob Gwizdz, joined “Stray Cat” charter boat captain John Giszczak to catch Yellow Perch on Lake Erie, as part of the state’s new Michigan Catch & Cook program. The fisherman later enjoyed their catch at Trapperz Tavern, in La Salle, Mi. For additional information on MI Catch & Cook, visit http://www.michigancatchandcook.com/

Catch and Cook

Michigan Catch and Cook Program

Catch & Cook allows charter fishing clients who catch fish from Michigan’s Great Lakes an opportunity to take their fresh catch to a participating Michigan restaurant to cook and serve those fish to those clients.

Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Charter Boat Association, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Restaurant Association are pleased to partner on Catch & Cook – an effort to promote and encourage creative, yet safe, marketing of Michigan Great Lakes sports fish through a partnership with the charter fishing industry and local restaurants.

Dispute sharpens over spearfishing on Lake St. Clair

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. — The international boundary between the United States and Canada cuts a diagonal through the vast 430-square-mile Lake St. Clair, regarded by some as the sixth Great Lake and by many as one of the best muskellunge fisheries in the world.

Many states allow the spearing of rough fish, but Michigan is unique, one of the few places that permits taking gamefish with a spear. There are reams of exclusions protecting primarily trout waters and boundary waters, but for the most part Michigan allows northern pike and muskellunge to be speared through the ice from Dec. 1 to March 15 on many of its waters.

Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie are closed to spearing muskies but open for the same period to spear pike and yellow perch.Muskie Lake Erie

A proposal to consider taking Lake St. Clair off the muskie spearing sanctuary list is bouncing around inside the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and has been fodder for intense debate at several recent informal forums on the matter. The commission, appointed by the governor, reviews proposals for changes or additions to the rules that regulate the taking of game and sportfish, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would ultimately carry out those measures.

read more

Piping plovers return to Lake Erie

Piping plover nests were found on the shores of all five Great Lakes last year for the first time since 1955.

The shore-dwelling bird disappeared from most of the Great Lakes in the 1980s and was listed as endangered in 1986, said Vince Cavalieri, the Great Lakes piping plover recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

At one point, up to 600 pairs nested throughout the Great Lakes. In 1990, only 12 pairs remained. Once found on sandy beaches from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, most of the survivors were clustered around the Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan’s northwest shore.

But with the discovery of a nesting pair in Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle State Park last year–the first to take up residence on Lake Erie for 60 years–the winds have changed. Researchers found 76 nesting pairs throughout the Great Lakes region in 2017.Piping Plover

Two projects on the shores of Lake Michigan have already found success developing plover-friendly habitat: one at Wilderness State Park on the northern shore of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the other on a series of eroded islands in Wisconsin’s Lower Green Bay.

Results came quickly. The park staff started clearing brush and trees from the shore in 2014, DeLoria said. In the summer of 2015, they observed a pair that had nested there. In 2016, that same pair returned to raise three chicks.

Efforts to restore beaches on the Cat Island Chain in the Lower Green Bay have brought similar success, said Reena Bowman, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Minnesota and Wisconsin Great Lakes piping plover lead.

“The species came back like immediately,” she said. “It was kind of a ‘build it and they will come’ kind of thing. And it wasn’t just plovers.”

read more

Michigan Arctic Grayling habitat research

$117,175 grant from the

Recently completed work supported by this grant addressed two immediate needs for a successful Arctic grayling reintroduction. The first was to collect stream habitat and fish community data in the upper Manistee River. This data collection allowed for both the evaluation of current stream habitat conditions and the development of criteria to determine which other streams may provide suitable habitat for Arctic grayling.Arctic Grayling Fishing

Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative is a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of this native fish and was founded by the DNR and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in June 2016. Interest in this initiative has grown rapidly since 2016, and the partnership now includes more than 40 organizations.

For more information on Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, visit migrayling.org.

Michigan Free Fishing Weekend this February 2018

Experience #MiFreeFishingWeekend Feb. 17-18 and enjoy the outdoors

Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer during the 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend Saturday, Feb. 17, and Sunday, Feb. 18. On those two days, everyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

In addition, during #MiFreeFishingWeekend, the Department of Natural Resources will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas. Several locations also may be hosting official 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend events that are perfect for the whole family.

Michigan has been celebrating winter’s #MiFreeFishingWeekend every year since 1994 as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing are a perfect match.

read more

 

Apply to be a Keeper at Tawas Point Lighthouse

Apply to be a lighthouse keeper at Tawas Point Lighthouse. Get together with one, two or three friends for a service and recreation vacation like no other. 

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Tawas Point Lighthouse

In operation since 1876, Tawas Point Lighthouse is a fascinating attraction for maritime buffs. Tawas Point is a destination for birdwatchers; it also offers spectacular views of sunrises over Lake Huron and sunsets over Tawas Bay.

Lighthouse keeper program read more

136-year-old shipwreck found in Georgian Bay

OWEN SOUND – The wreck of a steamship that went down in Georgian Bay during a storm 136 years ago has been found, with what could be human remains onboard.

American shipwreck hunters Jared Daniels, Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman revealed their summer discovery to coincide with the anniversary of the Jane Miller’s sinking Nov. 25, 1881.

The 24-metre package and passenger steamer went down with 25 people aboard, including the crew.

The wreck was found in Colpoys Bay, an inlet of Georgian Bay leading to Wiarton on the east side of the Bruce Peninsula north of Owen Sound in Georgian Bay.

The ship mostly is structurally intact with its mast still standing, rising within 23 metres of the surface. The shipwreck hunters also reported spotting what could be remains of bodies.

read more

Seasonal lake sturgeon releases put nearly 6,000 fish into Michigan waters

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and several partners released nearly 6,000 juvenile lake sturgeon into various public waters across the state this summer and fall in an effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species.

Juvenile lake sturgeon were collected from the wild during April and May and reared in streamside facilities until they were large enough to tag. Most fish were tagged prior to being released into their respective rivers to allow future evaluations of stocked fish.Lake Sturgeon

“Many of these stocking efforts were public events that shined a spotlight on how important lake sturgeon are to Michigan,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “Our state has a long history with the lake sturgeon, and working with our partners helps us protect them for future generations.” read more

Status of Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes

Part of a successful sea lamprey control program is monitoring adult sea lamprey abundance in each lake and sea lamprey impacts on fish; the sea lamprey marking rate on lake trout, their preferred host, is used to assess impacts on fish. To better understand the relationship between sea lamprey abundance and marking rates on lake trout, the number of lake trout also needs to be assessed (i.e., the number of lake trout can influence the marking rate).

Sea lamprey populations are monitored by generating an adult sea lamprey abundance index for each lake. The index is calculated by assessment crews who capture migrating adult sea lamprey in index streams with traps during the spring and early summer. A mark-recapture study is conducted on each index stream to generate a population estimate. Individual index stream population estimates are then summed to create the lake-wide adult sea lamprey abundance index. Whole-lake adult sea lamprey abundance estimates can be calculated by multiplying the lake-wide index by a lake-specific conversion factor. Lake trout marking and abundance data are collected annually from management agencies around the Great Lakes to generate lake-wide marking rates and population estimates.

Success in meeting targets for both the adult sea lamprey abundance index and sea lamprey marking rates on lake trout is determined by assessing the 3-year average index or marking rate compared to the targets. There are no targets for lake trout abundance in the context of reporting sea lamprey status. The trend of the adult sea lamprey abundance index, sea lamprey marking rate on lake trout, and lake trout abundance is determined by the direction of the slope over the past five years. Single year point estimates fluctuate and can have wide error bars, thus the focus on 3-year averages and 5-year trends.

read more

Could the sounds of spawning lure lake trout?

Lake trout make noise in bed, according to new research by Great Lakes scientists.

The species commonly growl, snap, quiver and thump while spawning, according to a study in the “Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.”

The report may cause a smirk, but researchers say the findings are serious.

“Peeping on spawning lake trout with a camera and microphone could be the premise of an interesting comedy skit, but also makes for interesting science that could help improve how fish populations are monitored,” said Nick Johnson, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists could potentially use the audio sounds to lure fish to spawning areas, Johnson said.

Lake Trout

Lake Trout

“If you walk down the street and hear a party going you might want to check it out,” he said. “There are historical reefs in the Great Lakes that are no longer being used for spawning . . . we may be able to play back the sounds of reproduction to lure in the trout and try to get them interested in spawning there.”

Johnson led a team that included researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Windsor and the University of Vermont, and that recorded spawning lake trout with cameras and hydrophones. Hydrophones are underwater microphones that detect the sounds of boats, waves and the quietest fish.

read more