The Michigan DNR again is offering the public the opportunity to see Great Lakes fish up close.
Public and school groups can take part in free tours this fall at the Boardman River Weir in downtown Traverse City, the Little Manistee River Weir in Manistee County and the Platte River Weir in Benzie County. Tours are available during part of September and throughout October.
Weirs are structures that block upstream fish passage on a river. The DNR uses a weir on the Boardman River each September and October to harvest surplus Chinook and coho salmon. At the same time, a weir also is used on the Little Manistee River to harvest the Chinook salmon that support the DNR’s fish production efforts. Staff collect fertilized eggs from this key fish species for the DNR hatchery system. At the Platte River, weirs are used for the fall harvest of coho salmon in order to collect fertilized eggs for the continued production of this prized species at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery.
The fall tours are conducted by staff from the DNR’s Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center and Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center. Students and visitors will learn about salmon biology, how weirs and fish ladders work, invasive species, state fish hatcheries, and the DNR’s annual egg-collection efforts and their impact on Michigan’s fisheries. The programs tie in components of history, ecology, biology and stewardship.
Tours at the Boardman River Weir will begin the week of Sept. 11 and will run through mid-October. Tours will be offered at various times Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Group tours are available by appointment. To sign up visit michigan.gov/huntfishcenter and click on the Boardman River Weir 2017 Programs link.
Platte River Weir tours will run during the egg-take season, slated for Thursdays during October (12, 19 and 26). Weir activity can be checked by calling 231-325-4611, ext. 21. To sign up for a tour, visit michigan.gov/huntfishcenter and click on the Platte River Weir 2017 Programs link.
Guided tours will be offered at the Little Manistee River Weir Oct. 3-4 and 10-11. To check the status of activity, call the weir hotline at 231-775-9727, ext. 6072. Group tours are available by appointment. The timing of the egg-take efforts will be dictated by the readiness of the fish – it’s best to call the weir hotline to determine activity level. To book a tour here visit michigan.gov/wolflakevc and click on the Little Manistee River Weir 2017 Programs link.
All tour dates are subject to change based on the progress of this year’s salmon runs.