Salmon season is here! Record your catches to help your fishery

Anglers can sign up for the Salmon Ambassadors program to help biologists understand how natural reproduction and stocking influence Lake Michigan.

Anglers are gearing up for salmon season in many Lake Michigan ports.  After two years of lukewarm action for this favored gamefish, anglers are wondering if this year will bring more of the same.

The Salmon Ambassadors program offers anglers the opportunity to record information on their catches and track their success.  At the end of the season, anglers can share their information with biologists and others interested in the health of the Great Lakes fishery.

Participating is easy.  Just follow these three simple steps for each and every Chinook Salmon caught from your boat during the 2015 fishing season:

  1. Measure fish carefully from the tip of the snout to tip of the tail.
  2. Check for an adipose fin clip that indicates a stocked fish.
  3. Record length and clip info along with date and location of catch.

One of the great benefits of this program is that volunteers include measurements of released Chinook Salmon that are too small for table fare.  These small fish may not be very exciting to catch, but they represent the future of the fishery. 

By looking at where and when small stocked and wild salmon are found, biologists may be able to learn more about how and why reproduction varies from place to place.  Large salmon are important, too.  Anglers can learn more about when wild and stocked “kings” show up in catches around the lakes. 

If you are already measuring your catches and recording your success as many anglers do, consider sharing your data with other anglers and scientists who are tracking our changing fishery.  The Salmon Ambassadors program is now open to Lake Michigan anglers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana waters as well as Lake Huron anglers in Michigan.  Contact Dan O’Keefe with Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with questions or sign up at the Salmon Ambassadors web page.

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