DNR: With more than 25 million fish stocked in 2017, fishing opportunities abound

Volunteers work to harvest a walleye pond so the fish can be stocked in public waterbodies throughout Michigan. (Michigan DNR)

This spring and summer, the Michigan DNR stocked a total of 25,470,199 fish that weighed more than 320 tons and consisted of 11 different species and one hybrid, the agency said in a news release this week.

To complete this task, it took more than 380 stocking trips to nearly 760 stocking sites, more than 103,000 miles traveled over the course of 3,052 hours using 19 specialized stocking trucks.

The number and type of fish stocked throughout the year varies by hatchery, as each location’s ability to rear fish varies depending on the source and temperature of the rearing water. In Michigan there are six state and two cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed by fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered at a specific time and location for stocking to ensure their success.

Each hatchery stocked the following fish this spring:

  • Marquette State Fish Hatchery (near Marquette) stocked 629,361 yearling lake trout, brook trout and splake (a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout) that in total weighed 63,802 pounds. This hatchery stocked a total of 113 inland and Great Lakes sites.
  • Thompson State Fish Hatchery (near Manistique) stocked 874,612 fish that included yearling steelhead and spring fingerling Chinook salmon. These fish weighed 123,430 pounds in total. This hatchery stocked 59 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
  • Oden State Fish Hatchery (near Petoskey) stocked 598,602 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that in total weighed 103,601 pounds. This hatchery stocked 139 inland and Great Lakes sites.
  • Harrietta State Fish Hatchery (in Harrietta) stocked 1,289,024 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that in total weighed 105,629 pounds. This hatchery stocked 312 sites (the majority located inland).
  • Platte River State Fish Hatchery (near Honor) stocked 1,976,582 fish that included yearling Atlantic salmon and coho salmon and spring fingerling Chinook salmon that in total weighed 124,346 pounds. This hatchery stocked 49 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
  • Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (near Kalamazoo) stocked 1,164,008 fish that included yearling steelhead and spring fingerling Chinook salmon, as well as channel catfish obtained from the Ohio DNR, that in total weighed 107,053 pounds. This hatchery stocked 65 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
  • A cooperative teaching hatchery at Lake Superior State University (in Sault Saint Marie) stocked 28,482 Atlantic salmon weighing 4,104 pounds into the St. Marys River.
  • Included in this year’s total fish stocked were 18.9 million walleye spring fingerlings and fry. These fish are reared in ponds by the DNR and tribal partners with extensive support provided by local sporting organizations. These fish were stocked at 140 inland lakes and rivers and 20 Great Lakes sites.

Fish stocking is a critical activity of the DNR. These efforts help pump between $2.4 billion and $4.2 billion into the state’s economy through the sportfishing industry and associated businesses. As a frame of reference, 2016 stocking efforts totaled more than 33 million fish.

Fish are reared in Michigan’s state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.

Some hatcheries will provide fish for a few additional stockings (consisting of brook trout, Atlantic salmon, lake sturgeon and muskellunge) to be made this fall. The lake sturgeon will come from the DNR’s other cooperative hatchery in Tower that is operated with Michigan State University.

For more information, visit michigan.gov/hatcheries. To find out where many of these fish were stocked, check out the DNR’s Fish Stocking Database at michigandnr.com/fishstock.

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