In Michigan, successful fall fish stocking adds angling opportunities
Eight different species, 672,478 fish, weighing in at nearly 13.5 tons – those are the totals from the Michigan DNR’s fall 2021 fish stocking efforts at 123 locations across the state.
“It was another outstanding fall fish stocking season that will provide enhanced opportunities throughout Michigan,” said Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager. “When added to our successful spring and summer stocking efforts, that brings the total for 2021 to more than 18.2 million fish put into Michigan’s waters.”
The number and type of fish stocked vary by hatchery, as each facility’s ability to rear fish differs because of water supplies and temperature. In Michigan, there are six state and three cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed by fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered at a specific time and location for stocking to ensure their success. Most fish in Michigan are stocked in the spring.
Fall fish stockings in 2021 consisted of eight species that included: brook trout, brown trout, channel catfish, coho salmon, lake trout, Eagle Lake and steelhead strain rainbow trout, walleye and muskellunge.
Marquette State Fish Hatchery (near Marquette) stocked 38,003 fall fingerling and adult brook and lake trout that weighed a combined 8,018 pounds. These fish were stocked at 46 locations, both in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.
Oden State Fish Hatchery (near Petoskey) stocked 37,000 Wild Rose brown trout and 113,863 Eagle Lake rainbow trout fall fingerlings that weighed a combined 4,093 pounds. These fish were stocked at four locations.
Platte River State Fish Hatchery (west of Traverse City) stocked 70,194 fall fingerling coho salmon weighing 2,999 pounds. These salmon were stocked in the East Branch of the AuGres River located in Iosco County.
Thompson State Fish Hatchery (near Manistique) stocked 349,213 fall fingerling steelhead that weighed 3,810 pounds at four locations. In addition, the first year of musky production was a success at Thompson, stocking 20,037 fish at 12 locations.
Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (west of Kalamazoo) stocked 9,850 Great Lakes strain muskellunge fall fingerlings that weighed 1,083 pounds and were stocked at 13 locations.
Several fisheries management units (Northern Lake Michigan, Southern Lake Michigan, Central Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Southern Lake Huron) also stocked fall fingerling walleyes in 2021. The Northern Lake Michigan management unit stocked 4,927 Bay De Noc strain fall fingerlings weighing 730 pounds, while the Lake Erie and Southern and Central Lake Michigan management units stocked 23,133 Muskegon strain fall fingerlings weighing 2,108 pounds.
Three sites were stocked with a total of 5,035 channel catfish from Ohio, with a total weight of 1,014 pounds. These fish were part of an annual agreement that includes Michigan providing Ohio with steelhead eggs in exchange for fall fingerling channel catfish.
Also as part of an annual cooperative exchange, 2,123 Northern strain muskellunge from the Wisconsin DNR weighing 685 pounds were stocked at four locations in both the Upper and Lower peninsulas. The Michigan DNR provided Wisconsin with Great Lakes strain muskies in exchange for these fish.
In general, fish are reared in Michigan’s state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.
The DNR welcomes visitors to its state fish hatcheries and interpretative centers to witness firsthand the fish rearing process and to learn about Michigan’s waters. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Hatcheries. For everyone’s safety, masks are recommended for all visitors entering public buildings.
To find out if any fish were stocked in your favorite fishing spot, visit the DNR’s fish stocking database at MichiganDNR.com/FishStock/.