Steelhead egg collection to begin on Little Manistee River this spring

The Department of Natural Resources today announced the annual collection of steelhead eggs on the Little Manistee River in Stronach, Mich., will again be taking place this spring. Exact dates will be determined based upon conditions at the river.

Since 1968, the Little Manistee River weir has served as the sole source of winter?run steelhead eggs for fish hatcheries in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Yearling steelhead produced through hatchery operations are stocked in tributaries of the Great Lakes. Steelhead provide one of Michigan's premier sport fishing opportunities for both open-water and stream fishing.

Egg-take operations begin by lowering the weir grates in early March to stop fish migration upstream and to divert steelhead into the facility's holding ponds. Usually during the first two weeks of April the fish ripen and egg-take operations begin. These activities continue daily until the established egg quota has been reached.

During egg-take operations, unripe or "green" steelhead are counted and passed upstream to sustain the wild Little Manistee River steelhead run. Steelhead that are spawned during operations are also passed upstream and many will eventually return to Lake Michigan. Once the quota of eggs is reached, the weir grates are removed and all remaining fish are allowed to migrate upstream with no impediments.

Information regarding egg-take days can be obtained by calling the Little Manistee weir hotline at (231) 775-9727, extension 6072. The facility is open to the public for up-close viewing on all days of egg-take operations. Fish can also be observed in the river below the weir at any time.

As a reminder, the Little Manistee River is closed to fishing until April 1. This regulation is in place to ensure enough steelhead make it to the weir for egg-take purposes, and that enough steelhead make it upstream to spawn naturally.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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