West Michigan News Updates from Michigan Sea Grant Extension.
West Michigan Fish Notes - Please allow images


Charter Trips Increased in 2015 Despite Lower Chinook Salmon Catch Rate

According to Michigan DNR Charter Survey Program data, catch rate declined from 7.3 Chinook salmon per charter excursion in 2012 to 2.3 Chinooks per excursion in 2015. Even so, charter captains logged 12,758 trips in Michigan waters of Lake Michigan in 2015 – the highest charter effort recorded since 1991 and a modest increase from 2014.

So why didn't the fishery crash like Lake Huron did when Chinook catch rates dropped in the mid 2000s?

One possible answer is that recession and high gas prices played an important role in the decline of Lake Huron's charter fishery. Another is that Lake Michigan still provides better fishing for Chinook salmon than Lake Huron did in the late 2000s.

The graph above shows the relationship between Chinook salmon catch rate and charter effort.  On Lake Huron (blue diamonds) there is a dramatic difference between low-catch rate years and high-catch rate years. Effort on Huron was high in most years when Chinook salmon catch rate was above 2 per trip. On Lake Michigan, catch rate has been above 2 per trip every year since recovery from BKD and charter fishing effort has been remarkably consistent.


Fun Fishing for Freshwater Drum

They are not the most glamorous fish in the Great Lakes, but drum (a.k.a. sheephead) offer some pleasant surprises to open minded anglers. They provide fast fishing for children learning to battle big fish and can even be used in recipes as a substitute for shrimp.
  • Fun fishing tips for drum
  • Ohio Sea Grant guide to cleaning and cooking drum


A Mussel Goes Fishing

Many native mussels (Family: Unionidae) use lures to attract fish. These lures are fashioned from the marsupial gills of female mussels, and they contain mussel larvae known as glochidia.  When a fish bites the lure, it gets a mouth full of glochidia. The glochidia then live as parasites in the fish's gills for a short time before developing into juvenile mussels.

The Plain Pocketbook (Lampsilis cardium) in this video is using a lure in attempts to to attract a host fish. What does the lure look like? What type of fish might it attract?


Southern Lake Michigan Workshop Videos now Online

On April 21, Michigan Sea Grant and South Haven Steelheaders hosted a Southern Lake Michigan Workshop that brought local anglers together to hear from fisheries professionals on topics related to Lake Michigan’s salmon and trout fishery.

Video: Status and Trends of Prey Fish in Lake Michigan
Presenter: Chuck Madenjian, U.S. Geological Survey

Video: Mass Marking of Great Lakes Chinook Salmon and Lake Trout
Presenter: Matt Kornis, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Video: Salmon Ambassadors Program and Angler Diary App
Presenter: Dan O'Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant

Video: Management Updates and Lake Michigan Management Plan
Presenter: Jay Wesley, Michigan DNR


Great Lakes Angler Diary Now Available to Test

Interested anglers can help field-test a new app that will provide information to fishery biologists and mangers around the Great Lakes.  

Presentation: Ups and Downs of Lake Michigan Fishing

Is this the end of Lake Michigan fishing? Recent news stories have focused on the decline of salmon but Dr. Dan O'Keefe will share the rest of the story.

This presentation is open to the public and free of charge. No registration is necessary.

July 28, 2016
7-8 p.m.

Spring Lake District Library
123 E. Exchange St.
Spring Lake, MI 49456

Fish for Drum in Holland

The morning will start with an introduction to drum fishing techniques.  Participants will then have the chance to try their hand at catching drum, followed by an optional discussion of cleaning and preparation techniques.

June 18, 2016
8-10 a.m.

Black Lake Boardwalk West
Holland, MI
(Near State Park entrance)

Click HERE to register

Great Lakes Issues and Ecology on the D.J. Angus

The best place to learn about the Great Lakes is on the water!

This Master Naturalist Supplemental Class is open to the public.

Registration is required.  The $40 registration fee includes an excursion on the GVSU vessel D.J. Angus and Sea Grant's Life of the Lakes book.

August 20, 2016
8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Loutit District Library
407 Columbus Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Contact Ginny Wanty
or register online

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 32 university-based programs.

Michigan State University is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.

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