Naze: Atlantics and tigers and splake, oh my!
As noted here last month, I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to all the doom and gloom talk about Lake Michigan’s declining alewife and salmon populations.
The reason (besides the fact that we’ve been hearing it from some for more than a decade) is that a 50 percent lakewide stocking cut in Chinook numbers since 2013 might allow alewives a chance to recover.
Additionally, strong numbers of naturally-reproduced salmon — more than 60 percent of the fish caught by anglers some seasons — are helping boost the Chinook totals, and the Kewaunee County area has been a state leader in salmon catch for two decades.
Alewife numbers have been very low for years, and Chinooks don’t get after the bottom-dwelling round gobies like trout do.
So why not be proactive in case alewives don’t rebound? Let’s get moving on planning some stockings of Atlantic salmon, which may target the gobies, as well as trout crosses such as tiger trout (female brown x male brook trout) and splake (male brook x female lake trout).
Even if the DNR starts with 10,000 of each, and splits them up among major lakeshore ports, it’d be a boost in morale for anglers tired of hearing nothing but bad news.
The DNR stocked a total of 47,000 Atlantics in 1988 and 1989; a combined 100,000 tigers were stocked from 1974-’77; and with few exceptions, splake were stocked annually (mainly in Green Bay waters) from 1983 to 2007.
Those fish were put in the lake at a time when Chinooks were dominant. Now may be a good time to give them another shot.
I remember the excitement when even one tiger trout was caught from the pier in the 1970s. That’s the kind of stuff we need to hear more of.
The Friends of Crescent Beach sponsored “Lake Michigan in Motion: Ecological Changes in the 21st Century” with Titus Seilheimer, fisheries specialist with UW-Sea Grant Institute, April 27.
Seilheimer’s PowerPoint presentation largely focused on the impact of exotic invaders such as sea lampreys, round gobies and quaqqa mussels, as well as changes in the commercial and sport fisheries.
Anglers have had to adapt to changing conditions before, and likely will need to again, Seilheimer said, if alewife numbers don’t rebound soon.
Next up is the third in a series of talks hosted by the Friends group, “Crescent Beach Health: A Summer Water Quality Monitoring & Beach News Update” at 6 p.m. May 18 at the Farm Market Kitchen in Algoma.
Speakers will be Cindy Kinnard, Kewaunee County public health nurse, and Sara Robertson, Algoma parks and recreation director.
Three free tags
Kewaunee County’s Deer Advisory Council changed its recommendation from two free antlerless deer tags per license to three at its final spring meeting recently, joining Door and Waupaca counties as the only ones in the state to advocate that many freebies per bow, crossbow and gun deer license.
That’s a total of four free farmland tags if you hunt both the “broadhead and bullet” seasons.
Of course, the recommendations still need Natural Resources Board approval, and, even if approved, nothing says you have to use all or even any of the tags if you’re not fortunate enough to hunt on a property that’s overrun with whitetails.
On the other hand, it may encourage additional doe harvest on farmlands that could handle a few less whitetails.
Whether you’re paddling, fishing or just enjoying a ride on the boat, there’s never a good excuse not to wear a life jacket.
That’s the advice of boating safety advocates as we head into National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27).
According to recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of all boating fatalities in 2014. Of those, 84 percent were reported as not wearing their life jackets.
New this year, there’s even a “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” set for May 20 to increase awareness of different life jacket styles, such as inflatables, and demonstrate their comfort and versatility.
The following day, May 21, thousands of people around the globe will attempt to set the world record for the most life jackets worn and inflatable life jackets inflated. Find out more at ReadySetWearIt.com.
Finally, Operation Dry Water returns June 24-26, an educational campaign launched in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard that aims to reduce the incidence of drinking while boating. To learn more, visit www.safeboatingcampaign.com.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Email him at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Naze: Atlantics and tigers and splake, oh my!