This spring, the DNR will begin collecting Great Lakes muskellunge from the Detroit River. These fish will be reared at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan and stocked in Michigan waters this fall.
“The DNR’s goal this year is to collect at least 400,000 eggs to meet our target of 30,000 fall fingerlings for stocking our state’s waters,” said Ed Eisch, Fish Production Program manager.
In 2018, approximately 460,000 eggs were collected from the Detroit River. Those eggs produced nearly 26,000 fall fingerlings that were stocked in 19 inland lakes and rivers and more than 46,000 spring fingerlings stocked in the Grand River and Lake Macatawa. No muskellunge are stocked in the Detroit River because the abundant muskellunge population in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River is supported entirely by natural reproduction.
To collect the eggs, mature muskellunge are captured with electro-fishing gear in the river. Collecting Great Lakes muskellunge is difficult in these areas because of the physical conditions associated with open water, especially in the spring. If weather limits the success of collecting Great Lakes muskellunge, northern strain muskies will be requested from other states to meet fisheries managers’ muskellunge needs for select Michigan waters.
As a safety issue and a precaution, the DNR requests that boats on the water avoid coming close to the electrofishing boat during nighttime shocking work.
“When the generator is running and the boat’s flood lights are on, we are collecting fish using electricity near the boat and we want to make sure the public stays clear of the electric field for safety,” said Jim Francis, Lake Erie Basin coordinator.
To learn more about fishing in Michigan and the Great Lakes muskellunge management effort, go to Michigan.gov/Fishing.