Fall 2013: West Michigan Fish Notes
Asian Carp Update:
Grass Carp Spawn in Lake Erie, Silver Carp DNA Found in Sturgeon Bay
Recent evidence provides more cause for concern regarding Asian carp. Low numbers of grass carp have been found in the Great Lakes for many years, but evidence of spawning in the Great Lakes basin was reported for the first time in an article published last month.
Although grass carp do not feed on plankton, they could threaten native fish and waterfowl by consuming aquatic plants that serve as habitat for other species. Grass carp also have similar spawning requirements to plankton-eating silver carp and bighead carp. Along with recent studies of temperature and flow on spawning habitat suitability, this suggests that bighead and silver carp may not have much trouble finding suitable spawning rivers in the Great Lakes basin.
Silver carp DNA was also found in one of 50 water samples taken from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in northern Lake Michigan. The samples were taken this spring and reported November 5th. Although no live silver carp have been captured in Great Lakes waters, this is not the first time that environmental DNA (eDNA) form silver carp has been detected. One sample from Calumet Harbor in Lake Michigan also tested positive, as have several samples from Lake Erie waters.
An ongoing ECALS study aims to improve interpretation of eDNA data. Although eDNA could indicate the presence of a live carp, a single positive result is less compelling evidence of invasion than a clear pattern of multiple positives would be.
Learn more about Asian carp from MSU Extension News:
Part 1: New science aids understanding, but how much science is enough?
Part 2: What have we learned?
Part 3: How can we stop them?
Tips For Marketing Your Charter Fishing Business
Word-of-mouth and online resources are the top sources of information used by charter boat clients when booking a trip. Creating positive experiences, partnering with other businesses in your community, and utilizing social media can help to spread the word.
More tips from the annual MCBA meeting
Catch & Cook Program Gains Steam in Second Year
Whether you are chasing walleye on Lake Erie, salmon on Lake Michigan, lake trout on Lake Superior, or a bit of everything on Lake Huron, chances are good you can find Catch & Cook opportunities nearby. This unique partnership allows charter anglers to take their catch to a participating restaurant for a deliciously memorable meal of fresh fish.
The Catch & Cook website generated more than 90,000 page views during the 2013 fishing season, and survey of participating businesses found that 18% of charter captains and 12% of restaurants gained customers from their registration on the website.
Be On the Lookout for Invasive Crayfish
Live crayfish sold in pet shops, grocery stores and food markets are not intended for use as bait or release into lakes and rivers. They might just be red swamp crayfish — an aggressive invasive species that is nearly impossible to eradicate.
Learn More About Red Swamp Crayfish