Naze: Salmon doomed? Call me a Great Lakes skeptic
All the doom and gloom talk about Lake Michigan and declining numbers of alewife and salmon has big lake anglers on edge, but I’m skeptical.
A reported 75 percent drop in the lakewide salmon catch over a three-year period sounds pretty frightening until you realize that stocking was cut 50 percent beginning in 2013, and you take into account where the best salmon fishing is — and isn’t.
Kewaunee County has led the state for 20 straight years in the Chinook salmon harvest, and when combined with Door County last year, the K/D Peninsula’s salmon numbers were greater than the rest of the Wisconsin counties combined.
Obviously, there’s something in the water here: fish.
I’ve looked back at articles I’ve written since the early to mid-“00s,” when it was reported that alewife numbers were “dangerously low.” Now, if there was nothing for alewives to eat back then, how’d we go another decade-plus with alewives still around?
I’m certainly not saying that everything is fine on Lake Michigan. With so many exotic invaders (especially quagga mussels) impacting the food chain, there are plenty of red flags.
But perhaps the stocking cuts and declining natural recruitment on the Michigan side in recent years happened at a perfect time, which could allow alewives to rebound?
Too, brown trout, lakers and rainbows are more than willing to eat the invasive round gobies that frequent the rocky bottoms. That means that even if the days of boatloads of “kings” are behind us, there should still be a nice mix of fish species available for Great Lakes anglers.
A total of 4,363 citizens statewide and 51 in Kewaunee County attended the annual DNR spring fish and wildlife rules hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings Monday night.
A majority of the questions were of the advisory-only type — not rules proposals — but the results give the DNR and policy-makers an idea of whether or not there’s support for a proposal.
Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening’s questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state NRB. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Board as advisory.
You can see questions and vote counts by state, and county, online at http://dnr.wi.gov/about/wcc/springhearing.html.
Local resolution text and results will be available on the website at a later date.
Hunting seasons for migratory game birds in Wisconsin will be nearly identical to last year under a rule approved by the state Natural Resources Board this week.
The first of the 2016 seasons will open Sept. 1 with the early Canada goose, mourning dove and early teal seasons. Regular waterfowl hunting seasons will
include a 60-day duck season and a 92-day goose season.
The early teal hunt runs Sept. 1-7, early goose Sept. 1-15 and dove Sept. 1-Nov. 29.
The regular goose season opens Sept. 16, and woodcock season begins Sept. 19, a day after the two-day youth waterfowl hunt weekend. Our southern zone duck opener is Oct. 1.
As a result of changes in the federal process for setting annual waterfowl hunting seasons, all migratory game bird hunting seasons will now be approved in April rather than the longstanding August decision, which gives hunters more time to plan and prepare for the fall seasons.
Wisconsin has more than 135,000 migratory game bird hunters and ranks in the top five for number of waterfowl hunters and second in the nation for woodcock hunters.
The Friends of Crescent Beach are sponsoring “Lake Michigan in Motion: Ecological Changes in the 21st Century” with Titus Seilheimer, Ph.D., and a Fisheries Specialist with UW-Sea Grant Institute.
It’s happening Wed., April 27, at 6 p.m. at the Farm Market Kitchen in Algoma.
Lake Michigan is a changing system, from the water levels to the food web. Human actions have changed the lake in many ways and continue to influence the condition of our beaches, water quality, and fisheries.
Titus will discuss the connections between different parts of this complex system and provide an update on the changes that are occurring in the lake and some thoughts about its future.
Check out a photo and more on Seilheimer at http://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/home/Default.aspx?tabid=609.
You’ve only got a few more days to comment on proposed quotas, permits and more for the fall bow, crossbow and gun deer seasons.
Check out your favorite county’s recommendations, and learn how to comment, at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/cdac.html.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Naze: Salmon doomed? Call me a Great Lakes skeptic