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Post Posted: 03:44pm - Oct 3,13 
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Comments sought on draft proposal for dividing stocked chinook among Lake Michigan counties

News Release Published: August 28, 2013 by the Central Office

Contact(s): David Boyarski, DNR fish supervisor, Sturgeon Bay, 920-746-2865; Brad Eggold, DNR fish supervisor, Milwaukee, 414-382-7921




MADISON – A draft proposal for a new, simplified strategy for how Wisconsin allocates stocked chinook salmon among its Lake Michigan counties would factor in charter boat trips and would provide counties a baseline level of stocking to support fall fishing runs, state fisheries officials say.

The proposed draft stocking strategy, developed by the Department of Natural Resources based on comments and direction from stakeholders and members of the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum, is available for public review and comment through Sept. 23. Comments will be reviewed and considered for the final draft strategy presented in October to the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum, an independent group of anglers, charter boat captains and commercial fishers facilitated by University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

“We encourage everyone with an interest in the Lake Michigan fishery to review the draft stocking strategy and send us comments,” says Brad Eggold, DNR fisheries supervisor for southern Lake Michigan. “We also hope that many can attend the coming Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum where the group will discuss the new strategy. Wisconsin’s strategy for stocking fish is an important decision and will set the future course of stocking numbers and strategy for the lake for years to come.”

Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana and five Michigan tribes sharing fisheries management responsibilities on Lake Michigan agreed last year to adjust stocking levels of chinook to help continue the strong fishing on the lake by bringing the number of predator fish like chinook back into line with the number of prey fish and to account for increased natural reproduction of chinook.

Under the agreement, DNR stocked 789,321 small fingerling chinook into Lake Michigan ports in spring 2013, compared to 1.16 million chinook the previous year. After working with the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum and stakeholders, fisheries managers decided to allocate fish among the ports in 2013 using the same formula as used since the 1980s, and committed to working with anglers to refine the fish distribution formula for 2014 and beyond.

Eggold says the draft stocking strategy for 2014 and beyond simplifies Wisconsin’s stocking strategy to one with two components: each county will receive a base number of fish to be stocked there to maintain a fall chinook run in most tributary streams; collectively, these base allocations will account for 75 percent of the fish stocked. Those spawning runs provide a fall fishery for boat, shore and stream anglers.

“We heard loud and clear at meetings to gather ideas for a new stocking strategy that people wanted to make sure there were good fall fishing opportunities up and down the lake,” Eggold says. “By giving each county a base number we believe we’ll continue to provide that fall fishing opportunity they want.”

The remaining 25 percent of fish stocked will be allocated among the counties based on four proposed factors:

The number of charter boat trips by county. Wisconsin has 318 licensed charter boat captains on Lake Michigan.

Angler effort directed at salmon and trout in the fall, as determined by the angler surveys conducted by DNR creel clerks.

The harvest rate of fish in the fall.

A placeholder for information forthcoming from returns of chinook fish with a coded wire tag embedded in their snout. DNR will be collecting chinook fish heads throughout summer and into October this year and in coming years to look for the coded wire tags that can help tell when and where a fish was stocked.

Comments on the proposed draft stocking strategy will be accepted through Sept. 23. People can email comments to Bradley.Eggold@wisconsin.gov, call him at 414-382-7921 or send them via U.S. mail to WDNR, Brad Eggold, 600 E. Greenfield Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53204.




http://dnr.wi.gov/news/BreakingNews_Lookup.asp?id=2912

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