The Department of Natural Resources today announced the final totals from its spring fish stocking efforts. The DNR’s Fisheries Division stocked a total of 19,130,659 fish that weighed 664,338 pounds and consisted of eight different species and one hybrid. To complete this task, it took 394 stocking trips to 729 stocking sites, with drivers travelling 106,235 miles in 2,648 hours using 17 specialized stocking trucks.
“It was another outstanding spring stocking season that will bring significant benefits and fishing opportunities to Michigan,” said DNR Fish Production Manager Gary Whelan. “Thanks to the hard work of our staff, we had minimal losses with this year’s fish and reached all of our target numbers.”
The number and type of fish stocked varies by hatchery, as each location’s ability to rear fish varies because of water supplies and temperature. In Michigan there are six state and two cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed by fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered at a specific time and location for stocking to ensure their success. Each hatchery stocked the following fish this spring:
The Marquette State Fish Hatchery (near Marquette) stocked 652,384 yearling lake trout, brook trout and splake (a cross of lake trout and brook trout) that in total weighed 66,791 pounds. This hatchery stocked a total of 118 inland and Great Lakes sites using 75 trips that required driving 22,924 miles over 541 hours.
The Thompson State Fish Hatchery (near Manistique) stocked 4,463,232 fish that included walleye fry, yearling steelhead and brown trout, and spring fingerling Chinook salmon. These fish weighed 110,337 pounds in total. This hatchery stocked 88 sites (the majority on the Great Lakes) using 64 trips that required driving 17,808 miles over 488 hours.
The Oden State Fish Hatchery (near Petoskey) stocked 695,406 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that in total weighed 102,312 pounds. This hatchery stocked 169 inland and Great Lakes sites using 74 trips that required driving 21,591 miles over 578 hours.
The Harrietta State Fish Hatchery (in Harrietta) stocked 1,109,046 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that in total weighed 113,492 pounds. This hatchery stocked 280 sites (the majority were inland) using 98 trips that required driving 23,643 miles over 595 hours.
The Platte River State Fish Hatchery (near Honor) stocked 2,851486 that included walleye fry, yearling Atlantic salmon and coho salmon, and spring fingerling Chinook salmon that in total weighed 121,993 pounds. This hatchery stocked 37 sites (the majority on the Great Lakes) using 19 trips that required driving 7,412 miles over 183 hours.
The Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (near Kalamazoo) stocked 9,323,605 fish that included walleye fry, yearling steelhead, and spring fingerling Chinook salmon that in total weighed 138,017 pounds. This hatchery stocked 54 sites (the majority on the Great Lakes) using 45 trips that required driving 1,857 miles over 304 hours.
The cooperative teaching hatchery at Lake Superior State University (in Sault Saint Marie) stocked 35,000 Atlantic salmon weighing 6,023 pounds into the St. Marys River.
“It requires a huge amount of coordination, expertise and hard work to plan, rear and stock fish in Michigan waters,” said Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “We are very fortunate to have a remarkable group of people who work very hard every year to deliver exceptionally high-quality fish. Their efforts help pump between $1.6 billion and $4.2 billion into the state’s economy through the sportfishing industry.”
Fish are reared in Michigan’s state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.
It should be noted that some hatcheries will provide fish for a few additional stockings to be made this fall consisting of brook trout, Atlantic salmon, lake sturgeon and muskellunge. The lake sturgeon will come from the DNR’s cooperative hatchery in Tower that is operated with Michigan State University.
The DNR welcomes visitors to its state fish hatcheries and interpretative centers to witness first-hand the fish-rearing process and to learn about Michigan’s remarkable waters. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/hatcheries.