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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Salmon Fishing on Lake Michigan

A Family Friend Holding up a Salmon
on Lake Michigan
Dear readers, 
One of the best, and most unique, parts about living in Michigan, is the fact that our state borders four out of the five Great Lakes (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie). During the summer it is very common for Michiganders, and out-of-staters alike, to vacation on or near one of Michigan's beautiful Great Lake beaches. Regardless of whether you are interested in taking a swim, going for a boat ride, fishing, or just enjoying the scenery from the shore or the dock, visiting one of the Great Lakes is always an enjoyable experience.   

Be that as it may, today I would like to narrow the focus to discussing salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, since this is a blog which is geared towards sportsmen such as myself. Moreover, another reason why I wanted to talk about salmon, is because it happens to be one of my favorite dishes. Feel free to read a previous post of mine, which is entitled Scrumptious Salmon, if you are interested in learning a few nutritional facts about eating this majestic ray-finned fish. However, the salmon I wrote about in that post was, of course, Alaskan Sockeye Salmon and you won't be finding any of those bad boys swimming in Lake Michigan.  

Being educated anglers and outdoorsmen, I am sure that you are aware of the fact that there are several different species of salmon. According to Salmon Fishing Now, there are a total of seven different members of the salmon family. They are: the Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Chum, Pink, Atlantic, and Steelhead. 

You can visit Salmon Fishing Now's page on the types of salmon, and read their descriptions of the seven distinct species of salmon, right here: 


Returning to salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, if you visit Lake Michigan Angler's page on salmon fishing, you will learn that four different species of salmon swim in Lake Michigan. The Chinook, Coho, Pink and also the Atlantic can all be found in this particular Great Lake. However, the Pink and Atlantic Salmon are far more scarce, as they only migrate into Lake Michigan occasionally.       

You can find Lake Michigan Angler's page on salmon fishing right here:

You may be surprised to learn that freshwater salmon were first introduced into Lake Michigan in the late nineteenth century, but over time, they would ultimately disappear. However, salmon were reintroduced into Lake Michigan in the 1960s, thanks to a man named Howard Tanner, who was the state fisheries chief at the time. A fantastic article which was written in 2011 by Howard Meyerson, and can be found on Mlive, tells us his story. 

In 1964, Tanner was told by Ralph MacMullan, the director of the Department of Conservation which was the forerunner to the Department of Natural Resources, to "do something spectacular." The reason he was told to do something spectacular was because Lake Michigan's fisheries were in peril at the time. Trout had become extinct in Lake Michigan, due in part to over-fishing, and the whitefish population was withering as well. As a result, the commercial fishing industry was on the decline,and something needed to be done to remedy this dire situation. Tanner came up with the idea to stock salmon in Lake Michigan, but it was not the most popular concept, and he had uncertainties about it himself. In the article, Tanner, who was 87 at the time the piece was written, recalled thinking that he would either be remembered as a "hero" or a "bum." 

To make a long story short, the decision to stock "Coho salmon smolts," in Bear Creek and the Platte River, which are two tributaries of Lake Michigan, was ultimately made. Chinook salmon would later be introduced as well. By 1967, the experiment had turned out to be a huge success, which drew national attention, and Tanner recalls that fishermen began coming from "everywhere."     

Read the full story about the man who was responsible for reintroducing salmon into Lake Michigan right here: 

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I really enjoy writing about my home state, and sharing information about life in "The Mitten" with my audience. I constantly remind myself to write the story only I can tell. While this is not a story that only I could have written, as was the case with my story about our dog Karli, the Great Lakes are a subject that I am very interested in and feel passionate about as a Michigander nevertheless. Therefore, I felt that I was able to bring an extra layer of fervor to this post. Please feel free to leave your comments. I really enjoy hearing what my readers have to say. Thank you very much.   

Till next time,
BF