DNR to launch next phase of stakeholder engagement on Lake Michigan fisheries management

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Following announcement of the 2017 stocking plans for chinook, coho, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources will launch its next phase of stakeholder engagement on management of the fishery at a meeting of the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum Nov. 7 at UW-Sheboygan.

DNR fisheries biologists sought to achieve a balance in the 2017 stocking plans by maintaining chinook stocking at existing levels, increasing steelhead stocking and decreasing numbers of lake trout and brown trout. The decision, based on scientific measures including declining prey fish abundance and angler harvest results as well as extensive stakeholder input, represents Wisconsin’s effort to address Lake Michigan’s changing ecosystem in consultation with neighboring states.

However, the department’s management of the fishery encompasses strategic efforts beyond the stocking activities, and stakeholder feedback on these initiatives will be critical to maximize the recreational, economic and biological benefits of the fishery, said Todd Kalish DNR fisheries bureau deputy director.

“Providing sustainable angling opportunities supports the economies of many local communities in Wisconsin,” Kalish said. “We appreciated the involvement of our recreational anglers, charter captains and other stakeholders in development of the 2017 stocking plan and we are asking for continued engagement as we look ahead to additional management and outreach activities as well as the collection and review of data that will help ensure future progress.”

The Monday, Nov. 7 meeting of the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at UW-Sheboygan, 1 University Drive, Sheboygan, 53081. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the room 2114 (Wombat Room).

Brad Eggold, DNR Great Lakes fisheries supervisor, said the meeting would include an overview of the stocking plans and discussion about the distribution of fish. Other topics for the agenda include:

  • Information about the department’s work to update lake trout bag limits;
  • Opportunities for input and participation to optimize use of net pens, reduce predation on young fish and promote the tremendous fishing opportunities on Lake Michigan;
  • An overview of the stocking plans by neighboring states along with the implications for Wisconsin anglers;
  • Development of a Lake Michigan fisheries communication plan; and
  • Terms of Reference for the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum.

“The department is grateful for the continued support and participation of anglers, business leaders and other stakeholders,” Eggold said. “We look forward to working with the regional clubs, recreational anglers, charter captains and others to further develop, implement and assess options to make the most of opportunities to promote and sustain this world class fishery.”

Background information including a copy of the presentation to stakeholders from earlier this summer can be found by visiting the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and searching “Lake Michigan salmon and trout meetings.”

The Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum offers opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to hear the latest research findings, management news and trends affecting the lake. The forum is facilitated by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute with support from DNR. Representatives from major sport fishing clubs on Lake Michigan and Green Bay, commercial fishers, the Conservation Congress and the University of Wisconsin System are formal members of the forum.