Comment period remains open, background information posted on Lake Michigan fisheries issues

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MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources continues to welcome comments on a variety of options to manage the valuable Lake Michigan fishery given ongoing changes in the food web.

DNR recently concluded three public meetings that laid out a variety of challenges and opportunities for the multi-million dollar fishery and those who depend on it for their livelihoods and recreation. A copy of the presentation and summary of stakeholder comments from the June 27 meeting in Cleveland, Wis., can be found by visiting the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and searching “Lake Michigan salmon and trout meetings.”

The recent meetings focused on a variety of potential management actions to ensure continued diverse opportunities for sport anglers. Topics for discussion included finding the right species mix, stocking numbers, use of net pens, hatchery production, habitat restoration and the potential to increase focus on species with the greatest chances of thriving given the record low levels of open water forage fish such as alewives and rainbow smelt.

The initiative represents part of an ongoing effort by DNR to ensure anglers’ voices are heard.

In addition to concern over the size of the proposed lake-wide stocking reduction for chinook, anglers at the recent meetings expressed interest in other methods to bring Lake Michigan’s predator-prey ratio into balance, including reducing stocking of lake trout and increasing the daily bag limits for lake trout. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already has indicated plans to reduce stocking of lake trout in Lake Michigan waters by a total of 550,000 fall fingerlings in 2016.

Anglers, charter captains, associated business owners, commercial fishers and other fish enthusiasts are encouraged to provide input to help natural resource managers maintain a world-class fishery.

The deadline for comments is July 31. Send comments via DNR Lake Michigan Plan or to: Bradley T. Eggold, Wisconsin DNR, UWM-GLRF-SFS, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204