Salmon stocking cuts frustrate most

Mike SchoonveldAbraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Wise words from a wise man.

When the Michigan DNR announced how it plans to reapportion the chinook stocking next spring, a paraphrase of Honest Abe’s maxim came to mind: You can satisfy some of the people all of the time, part of the people some of the time or just upset everyone a little.“

Most Lake Michigan salmon fishing fans know the alewife numbers in Lake Michigan are at low levels for several reasons. Among these reasons, the only one humans can easily control is the fact there are lots of chinook salmon in the lake and chinooks prey heavily on alewives.

Though stocking levels have been cut, then cut again and again, natural reproduction from streams such as the Pere Marquette, Betsy, Manistee and others offset the DNR’s reduced stocking numbers. So the DNR agreed to cut stocking numbers next year by about two-thirds.

If I was an angler who fishes mostly from South Haven, Holland or Benton Harbor I’d say, “our streams don’t produce any or many naturally-spawned chinooks. Target the cuts farther north where most of the naturally-produced fish originate.” If I did most of my fishing from ports in Mason, Manistee or other northern counties, I’d say, “My license dollars are as important as anyone else’s. It’s a shared lake, we should equally share the stocking reductions.”

There was no way to satisfy everyone, and apparently insufficient moxie to satisfy some while infuriating others. So the DNR decided to just upset everyone a little and basically make the cuts to each stocking site equivalently. The right choice? You can’t fool all the people all the time and I’m not fooled.

Categories: Blog Content, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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