LAPEER COUNTY – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is in the middle of its new fish stocking season, and this spring people will see DNR fish stocking trucks releasing their prized recreational cargo at hundreds of lakes and streams throughout the state.
Fish stocking is a valuable tool used by fisheries managers to restore, enhance and create new fishing opportunities in Michigan’s inland lakes, streams and the Great Lakes. The DNR’s Fisheries Division accomplishes this task by rearing fish at its six fish production facilities located throughout the state, cooperatively managing up to 50 rearing ponds and 13 imprinting net pen locations, and maintaining a fleet of 18 specialized fish stocking vehicles.
Over the course of a typical year the DNR will stock roughly 20 million to 25 million fish weighing nearly 400 tons, including eight species of trout and salmon and four cool-water species such as walleye and muskellunge. Starting in mid-March and ending in early June, the DNR fish stocking trucks travel well over 100,000 miles to stock between 700 and 1,100 locations.
Michigan anglers have access to four Great lakes, 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams. That puts residents and visitors no more than 10 minutes away from great angling opportunities and world-class fisheries.
Visit the DNR’s fish stocking website at michigandnr.com/fishstock for information on local fish stocking locations.
Volunteers needed to help guard Michigan’s sturgeon
CHEBOYGAN COUNTY – Looking for a unique way to be involved with one of the state’s threatened species? The Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow in Cheboygan County is again seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement and Fisheries divisions, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest during the annual spawning run.
Every spring, mature lake sturgeon, a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the U.S., become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in the Black River. Volunteers are needed to stand guard along the river during the spawning season, from mid-April through early June, to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish.
“The lake sturgeon is unique in Michigan in that they can live up to 100 years and weigh more than 200 pounds,” said Dave Borgeson, local fisheries manager. “Their journey through the Black River is critical to their long-term success, and volunteers are important to ensure it’s a safe trip.”
When spawning begins, sturgeon guards are assigned in shifts to sites along the river. The volunteers stand watch and, if suspicious activity occurs, use cellular phones provided by Sturgeon for Tomorrow to contact DNR conservation officers who are actively patrolling the area in support of the guarding effort. Aerial surveillance also is deployed to help secure the area.
“For more than 16 years, the annual sturgeon guarding program has proven that people serving as guards watching over the river have virtually eliminated poaching while helping to ensure the protection and reproductive success of the species,” said Ann Feldhauser, a DNR retiree and the guarding program’s volunteer coordinator.
Individuals or groups interested in volunteering should contact Mark and Ann Feldhauser at 906-201-2484, or 906-346-9511.
Lake sturgeon rehabilitation in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the DNR,Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership. In addition to the guarding program, this effort includes activities such as tagging sturgeon adults and rearing young fish for stocking in Black, Burt and Mullet lakes.