The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been working hard this fall to gather necessary eggs for the continued production of hatchery fish to support management objectives for Michigan’s world-class fisheries. Fall egg-takes have been completed, or are starting soon, for wild Chinook and coho salmon and for captive broodstocks of brown, rainbow, brook and lake trout.
Chinook salmon eggs were collected Oct. 4 and Oct. 20 at the Little Manistee River Weir and Oct. 11 from the Swan River Weir near Rogers City. Collection of coho salmon eggs began Oct. 17 at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery Weir and ended Oct. 27.
“We were expecting a limited run of wild Chinook salmon this year,” said Aaron Switzer, manager of the state fish hatcheries located in the northern Lower Peninsula. “The run was very heavy to males, many of which were jacks (males that reach sexual maturity one year earlier than normal). Because of that, we needed to procure additional eggs from the Swan River rather than rely solely on the Little Manistee River.”
The Wisconsin DNR was able to supplement Michigan’s needs with an additional 500,000 eggs from their Strawberry Creek weir. These additional eggs will ensure Michigan produces the required number of salmon for stocking in 2017.
The coho salmon egg-take got underway at the upper Platte River Weir Oct. 17. The coho run has been very strong this fall, with 16,691 adults passed above the lower Platte River Weir and an additional 1,491 adults harvested.
“Our goal was nearly 5 million coho salmon eggs at the Platte River Weir, and we had no problem hitting our target,” said Switzer.
All Chinook salmon eggs collected at Michigan’s weirs will be reared in Michigan – just as they were in 2015. The DNR will continue to provide coho salmon eggs to neighboring states with 3 million staying in Michigan, 1.1 million going to Indiana and 800,000 going to Illinois, thanks to a very strong run of fish this year.
Captive broodstock egg-takes for brook trout and lake trout are in progress until mid-November at the Marquette State Fish Hatchery. Brown trout egg-takes at Oden State Fish Hatchery were completed in mid-October. Rainbow trout egg-takes at Oden will begin in December and continue until mid-January. Captive egg-takes occur every one to two weeks.
Captive broodstocks will provide 220,000 brook trout eggs, 410,000 lake trout eggs, 3.3 million brown trout eggs and 1 million rainbow trout eggs. An additional 640,000 splake eggs (brook trout and lake trout hybrid) will also be collected to support Michigan’s fisheries management objectives.
To learn more about efforts through Michigan’s state fish hatcheries or to plan a trip to see the egg-take activities, visit Michigan.gov/hatcheries.