Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

No change coming for salmon limits in 2011

Lansing — The daily bag limit for salmon on the Great Lakes will
remain five for the 2011 fishing season, according to
DNRE Fisheries Division officials. The decision was announced
recently after a review of catch rates in 2010 by charter fishermen
on Lake Michigan, where the lion’s share of Michigan’s salmon
fishing occurs.

The DNRE set the salmon daily bag limit at five on April 1, 2009.
Prior to that, the daily limit had been three salmon per
angler.

“Based on charter boat data returned to us each year, there is no
need to reduce the salmon catch rates at this time,” DNRE Fisheries
Supervisor Todd Grischke told Michigan Outdoor News. “A couple of
years ago we changed to a five-fish limit. We said at that time
that we will use a couple of indicators to decide whether or not to
change bag limits.”

Using data collected from salmon charter boats between 1998-2006,
the DNRE says anglers averaged .165 fish per hour and 13 percent of
charterboat anglers caught a three-fish limit. Those are the
benchmarks the DNRE uses to monitor the salmon bag limit. If both
indicators fall below the benchmark, the bag limit will be reduced
back to three salmon per day for the following year. If only one
indicator falls below the benchmark, no changes will be made in the
bag limit.

In 2010, the DNRE says charter  boat anglers caught .254 fish per
hour and 14.5 percent caught their limit of five fish, both well
above the benchmarks for a reduced bag.

“The reason we use two thresholds is that we don’t want the bag
limit to change every year,” said Randy Claramunt, a DNRE fisheries
research biologist. “Using both of these, things have to move well
below the average before making changes. This gives (the
regulation) some stability. We don’t want to make the regulations
confusing and change back-and-forth every year or every other
year.”

Grischke said the bag limit is more of a social issue than a
biological one and that angler effort does not negatively impact
the salmon population in the Great Lakes

“The bottom line is that if you keep three fish or five fish it
won’t impact the population or the ability of these fish to
reproduce,” Grischke said.

“We don’t catch enough salmon to impact biology or reproduction. If
you keep three fish or five fish it won’t impact the population of
the ability of the fish to reproduce.”

The DNRE has been steadily  reducing the number of salmon stocked
in Lake Michigan because, it says, there are more and more signs of
sustained natural reproduction taking place in the lake.
Overstocking would put a strain on the limited forage base of
alewives and rainbow smelt.

“We’re not trying to manipulate the population through bag
limits,” Claramunt said. “We want to be sure that if there are a
lot of fish in the lake we can take five fish, but if the
population drops, we’ll drop the bag limit back to three.”

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