DNR’s hatchery staff recently completed spring stockings for Lake Michigan and its tributaries, adding more than 589,100 trout and salmon to public waters.
Locations stocked include East Chicago Marina, East Branch Little Calumet River, Salt Creek, Trail Creek, and the St. Joseph River. Among the fish stocked were 90,280 brown trout fingerlings, 77,166 Coho salmon yearlings, 225,776 Skamania steelhead yearlings, and 195,915 Chinook salmon fingerlings.
Due to the COVID-related cancellation of the spring 2020 egg take at the Little Manistee Weir in Michigan, no winter-run steelhead yearlings were stocked. To make up for this shortfall in fish production, Indiana raised extra Skamania steelhead yearlings and obtained twice as many brown trout as usual from Illinois DNR.
Indiana also experienced sourcing issues with Chinook salmon. Indiana does not have the infrastructure to spawn Chinook salmon, so the DNR relies on partners in other states for eggs. Wisconsin DNR was not able to provide enough viable eggs to meet Indiana’s target. To make up for most of the shortfall, Indiana’s hatchery staff worked with other Lake Michigan partner states, securing more than 59,000 surplus Chinook from Illinois DNR and 39,000 from Michigan DNR.
“The last year has been a challenge to navigate with production shortages, canceled egg takes, and many pandemic-related issues,” said Ben Dickinson, DNR’s Lake Michigan biologist. “I’m proud of our hatchery staff for being adaptable, and very grateful for all our Lake Michigan state agency partners for helping to ensure we can stock a variety of species to maintain our diverse fishery.”
Although fish stockings are complete for this spring, Coho salmon fingerlings are scheduled to be stocked during October, and winter-run steelhead fingerlings will be stocked in December.
For more information about Lake Michigan fishing, visit wildlife.IN.gov/fishing/lake-michigan-fishing/.