Finding answers about Lake Michigan’s juvenile lake whitefish

Visitors to various sites off Lake Michigan between Charlevoix and Frankfort now through June 29 may see DNR crews conducting a survey to look for juvenile lake whitefish.

Lake whitefish is the most important commercial fish species found in the Great Lakes, but populations have declined in recent years due to fewer numbers of juvenile fish surviving to adulthood. This survey will target whitefish younger than a year old to evaluate how many were produced each year.

The survey work is done from shore, often on public beaches. The public is welcome to observe this Great Lakes field work – a rarity, since most survey work is done offshore on boats or large vessels. Several agencies are partnering with the DNR on the survey to better understand and, hopefully, reverse the declines in this species.

“This survey will give us critical information about the variability in lake whitefish reproduction across the Great Lakes and help us with predictions about the future commercial fishery,” said Dave Caroffino, a DNR fisheries biologist based out of Charlevoix.

For more information on the survey, contact Dave Caroffino, 231-547-2914, ext. 232 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.