Is 10 brook trout too many?
The Department of Natural Resources’ proposed change in the brook trout creel limit from five fish to 10 fish is more controversial than I thought it would be.
It wasn’t that long ago that the daily limit was 10 fish, and it had been 10 for quite a few years. From what I understand, the change from 10 to five fish in 2000 was due to angler requests, not biological concerns, and that’s what’s driving the change this time, too.
Anglers seem to be split on the proposal, but when you’re talking about trout, the discussion sometimes gets more impassioned than with other species. There are some fishermen who would prefer that no one ever kill a trout.
I attended one of the many presentations that DNR biologists are holding around the state. According to the DNR, brook trout are quick to mature and can spawn at one year of age. Very few brookies live to be three years old, as lots of predators besides humans eat them. The DNR says angler harvest contributes very little to brookie mortality.
If the research is accurate, it doesn’t seem to me that changing the creel limit is going to make a difference in brook trout numbers. However, since the rationale for change is sociological and not biological, the DNR has said that it will be relying on public feedback to make its decision. The department is encouraging everyone to take the survey on its website.
Do you want to keep more brook trout or keep the current creel limit at five fish? Go to Michigan.gov/dnr and fill out the survey.