Learn more about Lake Michigan’s evolving fisheries with Sea Grant videos
The 2015 Ludington Regional Fisheries Workshop featured in-depth presentations on food web changes, mass marking of trout and salmon, cisco rehabilitation and more.
The Ludington Regional Fisheries Workshop is an annual event hosted by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension and other partner organizations each January. Videos of select presentations are now available on the Michigan Sea Grant YouTube Channel.
This year’s Ludington workshop began with a presentation by Steve Pothoven, who works out of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon, Michigan. Pothoven’s research involves the lower food web—in other words the plankton, shrimp, scuds and other tiny creatures that provide food for forage fish like alewife. The diet and condition of alewife has changed dramatically in recent years due to food web changes and Steve’s presentation digs into the specifics.
Chuck Bronte, mass marking program coordinator for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, presented an overview of mass marking efforts and some results that anglers will find interesting. Beginning at 17:35 on the video, Chuck goes through a series of slides on Lake Michigan ports. Each slide shows how stockings at different locations contribute to Chinook salmon fisheries at a given port. You might be surprised to find out which stockings contribute most to your favorite port.
With all of the concern for Chinook salmon and alewife in Lake Michigan, it is important for fisheries managers to use the best possible information when making decisions. Randy Claramunt of Michigan DNR discussed development of a Predator/Prey Ratio that takes both Chinook salmon and alewife into account. While the previous Red Flags Analysis used a variety of indicators, this new ratio is a single number that reflects the balance between predator and prey. Although the calculations are complex, the basic idea of using everything we know about salmon and alewife to produce a ratio is quite simple. When predator biomass approaches 10 percent of prey biomass (Predator/Prey ratio of 0.10) it is a recipe for trouble.
The final video posted from the 2015 Ludington workshop is a presentation on cisco rehabilitation by Kevin Donner, Great Lakes Fishery Biologist with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Kevin provides a nice historical overview of Lake Michigan’s fish community before discussing the tribe’s success with rearing and stocking ciscoes in 2014. Also known as lake herring, the cisco was one of seven types of closely-related Lake Michigan fish that originally filled the niche now occupied by alewife. Now only two remain.
If you are interested in learning more, videos from last year’s workshop cover additional topics. Presentations on sea lamprey control (Ludington 2014: Jeff Slade), creel survey results (Ludington 2014: Tracy Kolb) and the recent resurgence of naturally reproducing lake trout in Lake Michigan (Ludington 2014: Dale Hanson) can be found on the Michigan Sea Grant YouTube Channel along with all of the Ludington 2015 videos mentioned above.