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E-M:/ DNR Releases 2006 Fisheries Management Updates for Waters in Southwest Michigan



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Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE	
May 8, 2006

Contacts: Jay Wesley 269-685-6851 or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014
				

DNR Releases 2006 Fisheries Management Updates
for Waters in Southwest Michigan 

The Department of Natural Resources' Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit recently released a list of fishery management changes and activities for the upcoming angling season. These changes and activities include fish stocking, habitat rehabilitation projects, creel census, research studies and fish community surveys. 

"These management updates have been released as a means to notify anglers and the public of changes in management and to let lake and stream property owners be aware of our survey activities," said Jay Wesley, Southern Lake Michigan Unit manager in Plainwell. "We also value public input regarding our management changes and encourage anglers to report on current management activities."

The Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit covers the Grand, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Galien river watersheds and all the lakes and streams within that area. Each year, fisheries biologists evaluate management options on various water bodies in order to achieve increased fishery benefits. Following is a list by county of management actions that have occurred in the past year and a list of waters that the DNR intend to survey in 2006. The DNR also asks anglers to provide feedback on specific management options. 

Allegan County

The DNR will continue to stock steelhead into the Rabbit River. Chinook salmon stocking into the Kalamazoo River at Saugatuck has been moved from a direct plant to net pens. This should increase the survival of those fish. A new strain of brown trout, Gilchrist Creek, will be stocked at Saugatuck to replace the Seeforellen strain. The Gilchrist Creek strain has been out performing other strains on inland waters, so it is anticipated to do well in Lake Michigan. The Kalamazoo River Assessment is complete and available on line at www.michigan.gov/dnr under the Research section of the Fishing menu. Hard copies are available at the Plainwell Operation Service Center. The annual Lake Allegan Carp Derby will take place on Free Fishing Weekend, June 10-11, to raise awareness of water quality in the lake and Kalamazoo River. 

Barry County

Crews were on Thornapple Lake early this spring as part of the annual northern muskellunge egg take. The Thornapple River near Hastings will be surveyed as part of a long-term status and trends analysis of smallmouth bass. Several tributaries of the Thornapple River will also be surveyed for the Grand River Assessment. Brown trout stocking in the Coldwater River near Freeport will be evaluated mid-summer. A creel survey will be conducted on Gun Lake throughout the spring, summer and fall to assess the fishery and walleye stocking.  

Berrien County

The St. Joseph River will continue to be stocked with walleye on an alternate year basis. These fish will be marked so the DNR can evaluate natural reproduction, year class strength and percent contribution of stocked walleye to the creel. Boom-shocking will occur on the St. Joseph River in various locations to evaluate the walleye stocking program. Fish community assessments are also planned for Singer Lake and Townsend Creek. Creel surveys are planned for the St. Joseph River, Dowagiac River, the Port of New Buffalo, and the Port of St. Joseph. Steelhead stocking will continue for the Paw Paw River. Chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, and brown trout stockings will continue for the ports of St. Joseph and New Buffalo. The brown trout strain was switched from Seeforellen to Gilchrist Creek for these ports. Chinook salmon stockings were reduced 36 percent for St. Joseph to help reduce prey consumption in Lake Michigan by 10 percent. A new fishing access site on Brandywine Creek off of 15th Street in Niles was purchased by the DNR. This site will be managed by Niles Township and will provide urban trout fishing opportunities.  

Branch County

Lake Lavine rainbow trout stockings will continue and have been discontinued Gilead Lake. Angler reports have been poor for Gilead Lake. Walleye stocking will continue in Matteson Lake, and the channel catfish stocking has been discontinued until a new source of fish can be identified. Union Lake stockings of channel catfish, walleye and northern pike have been discontinued. 

Calhoun County

The Calhoun County Conservation District has been active restoring rivers in this area. Rice Creek will soon be reconnected to the Kalamazoo River after the Marshall Dam in the city of Marshall is removed. An Inland Fisheries Grant was awarded to remove this unsafe dam. Dickenson Creek in Historic Bridge Park near Battle Creek will receive some habitat improvement by Kalamazoo Valley Trout Unlimited. A brown trout assessment will also take place this summer. A comprehensive habitat and fish community survey is scheduled for the St. Joseph River in July.  

Cass County

Birch Lake rainbow trout stocking will continue. This was dropped last year; however, several anglers came forward declaring how good the fishing has been in Birch Lake. Stocking will continue at a lower rate to reduce competition with cisco. A netting survey will be conducted on Belas Lake this spring. A creel survey and fish community assessment is scheduled for Dowagiac Creek between Russ Forest and Lake LaGrange. A major river rehabilitation project is underway at Dodd County Park to restore meanders to the Dowagiac River. This project is scheduled to be complete this fall. Walleye stocking will continue in Magician Lake. 

Clinton County

A management plan developed by Fisheries and Parks and Recreation divisions will evaluate options to address the Eurasian milfoil problem in Lake Ovid. Weevils, a milfoil-eating insect, are being considered as an alternative management option to chemical control. 

Eaton County

The village of Dimondale was awarded an Inland Fisheries Grant to remove their dam on the Grand River. Charlotte also received a grant to remove a dam on the Battle Creek River. These projects are expected to start this year. Several tributaries to the Grand River will be surveyed this year. The data will be used in the Grand River Assessment. Lake Alliance in Potterville will no long receive rainbow trout. Survival of trout is low; however, the warmwater fish community is doing very well. 

Gratiot County

No management updates for the Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit.

Hillsdale County

No management updates for the Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit.

Ingham County

Various tributaries to the Grand River will be surveyed for the Grand River Assessment. Discussions are underway with the city of Lansing in regard to future management of the North Lansing Dam. 

Ionia County

Walleye stocking will continue in Morrison Lake, and brown trout and steelhead stockings will continue in Fish Creek. Prairie Creek will continue to receive steelhead. 

Jackson County

No management updates for the Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit.

Kalamazoo County

The management plan for Gull Lake will be updated this year. Rainbow trout survival has been poor for several years. Rainbow smelt have recovered in the lake. Fisheries Division is considering dropping the rainbow trout stocking and replacing it with a low lake trout stocking to supplement the fishery. The DNR is also considering cisco restoration to the lake. Anglers should contact the Plainwell OSC with opinions and suggestions. Muskellunge stocking was discontinued in Austin Lake due to a history of fish kills and recent fish disease issues. 

Kent County

The Rogue River, Spring Brook, and Bear Creek all will be surveyed to evaluate their coldwater fisheries. Fish community assessments will be conducted on Long and Campbell lakes. The Lower Flat River will be sampled to determine the population status of the river redhorse, a state threatened species. Muskellunge stocking will continue in Campau and Murray lakes. Buck Creek will receive a new strain of brown trout, Gilchrist Creek.

Montcalm County

The Flat River and tributaries will be surveyed for the Grand River Assessment. Clifford Lake will again receive walleye for stunted bluegill control. 

Muskegon County

Mona Lake will continue to be stocked with walleye. Plans have been developed to restore white bass and Great Lakes muskellunge into Mona Lake. 

Ottawa County

Spring Lake, Crockery Lake and Lake Macatawa are scheduled for surveys this spring and summer. The Grand River will receive 26 percent less chinook salmon as part of a Lake Michigan-wide plan to reduce prey consumption by 10 percent. An experimental white bass egg-take will take place on Lake Macatawa. A white bass restoration plan calls for population restoration in Mona, Muskegon and White lakes. The Chinook salmon stocking in Macatawa River has been moved to a net pen within the lake. Great Lakes creel surveys will continue at the Grand Haven and Holland ports.

St. Joseph County

The St. Joseph River, Palmer and Sturgeon lakes will continue to be stocked with walleye on an alternate year basis. These fish will be marked so the DNR can evaluate natural reproduction, year class strength, and percent contribution of stocked walleye to the creel. Muskellunge stocking will also continue in Long Lake in Fabius Township. 

Van Buren County

Northern pike stocking was discontinued in North Scott Lake. Pike are difficult to mass produce in the  current DNR hatchery system. Therefore, the DNR Fisheries Division will concentrate its management on promoting natural reproduction through the protection and rehabilitation of spawning (wetland) habitats. The East Branch Paw Paw River will continue to receive brown trout, the Gilchrist Creek strain, and Bankson Lake will receive muskellunge. Walleye stocking will continue in the Black River in South Haven and Maple Lake. Chinook salmon stocking in South Haven was reduced 14 percent to as part of a Lake Michigan-wide plan to reduce prey consumption by 10 percent. Yellow perch populations are on the rebound, so anglers should expect better catches of yellow perch in Lake Michigan. Surveys are scheduled for Upper Jeptha and Saddle lakes. 

For more information on the management plans, contact Jay Wesley at (269) 685-6851 or at the Plainwell Operation Service Center located at 621 N. 10th Street in Plainwell. 

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.

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