Call to order, Introductions and Announcements (Appendix I)
The meeting was called to order at 1200hr by Chairman Jim Moore (WDNR),
who introduced fellow committee members Tom Gorenflo (COTFMA), John Trimberger
(MDNR), Jim Francis (IDNR) and Tom Trudeau (IDOC).
Adoption of Agenda
The agenda was adopted as circulated.
Approval of 1994 Minutes
The 1994 minutes were approved as circulated.
Progress Reports (Appendix II)
Recognition was given to Gary Eck of the Great Lakes Science Center, NBS,
who retired in January, 1995 and Ed Brown also from NBS, who retired the end of
Reports of the Lake Michigan Technical Committee (LMTC)
LMTC has set a goal to have a draft lakewide assessment plan ready for Lake
Committee review in 1996.
At January LMTC meeting objectives for standardized lakewide sport
harvest estimates were developed; current creel survey methodology was
reviewed; and an outline of future work that is required to achieve standardized
lakewide sport harvest estimates was accomplished. The Current Methods Manual
has already been produced.
The diet standardization ad hoc committee has established standard predator
length categories for consistency. A draft "Protocol For Diet Studies Of Lake
Michigan Piscivores" is currently under review by the ad hoc committee. A final
draft is expected to be presented at the LMTC summer meeting. At the 1996 Lake
Michigan Committee (LMC), a final report will be submitted, along with a
presentation of all previous diet data using the new standard format.
LMTC reviewed stocking objectives for refuges and considered a proposal to
change to alternate year stocking in the northern refuge. Due to EED disease
problems in the hatchery system the strain evaluation, as outlined in the plan, was
interrupted. Regardless, we maintained a high stocking density strategy. A
decision was made to wait until the full five years of paired stocking is completed
before the stocking protocol is changed.
The Yellow Perch Task Group was formed this past year. Specific progress
of task group is covered under a separate report (Agenda Item 4e).
A reply was received from Michigan State University (MSU) endorsing
future development of partnerships to accomplish the needs of the LMC. Dr. Jim
Bence of MSU submitted a fish community modelling proposal to the Michigan
Sea Grant Program for funding, which would include working on the SIMPLE
A finclip protocol was drafted and sent to Fish Commission for
Lake Trout Rehabilitation: (Appendix III)
Mike Toneys presented report highlighting progress:
Stocking Met 87% of stocking goals. Stocking goals were met in the
Northern Refuge and Primary Zones.
Implementation of the 10-12/lb size objective for lake trout stocked from the
National Fish Hatcheries will begin in spring 1995. The lakewide stocking goal by
number will be reduced by 40%. Projected stocking level for Lake Michigan
beginning in 1996 is 1.75 million fish. LMTC will assess the relative survival of
the 10-12/lb fish versus 20/lb in Clay Banks primary zone.
Mortality In the Clay Banks Zone total annual mortality of ages 6-12 has
been relatively stable for the past three years and below 40% mortality goal. In
Illinois waters the Secondary Zone mortality also was below goal.
Midlake Refuge In the lakewide survey relative abundance decreased or
leveled off on three of the four reefs. Numbers of unclipped fish on all four reefs
were below 2%. Development of spawning population on Sheboygan Reef is
Northern Refuge No fall spawning assessment was conducted in 1994.
Michigan did summer assessment in the refuge. Progeny of the 1984 year class
were not found. Variety of finclips found (15), coded wire tags are decoded, data
has not yet been compiled.
Primary Zones The catch rate in the spring pound net survey in the Clay
Banks Zone increased moderately. Harvested a record number of adipose clipped
fish. Summer lakewide survey at Clay Banks Zone was discontinued this year.
Stocked approximately four million eggs in astroturf incubation bundles on
Jacksonport Deep Reef. Conclusion was drawn at a workshop in Sturgeon Bay
that continuation of the Clay Banks refuge will probably do little to enhance
rehabilitation. Process has begun to remove lake trout refuge.
Secondary Zone South Milwaukee Reef, CPE declined for the second
consecutive year. In Illinois waters catch rate almost identical but mean age
decreased. Michigan caught a moderately high number of adipose clipped fish
during targeted netting for chinook.
Illinois Natural History Survey Lake Michigan Biological Station had
success collecting live eggs at Burns Harbor/Wilmette Reef. Approximately 25
eggs had hatched with anticipation towards successful identification of parental
Analysis of Coded Wire Tag Data All agencies have collected over 5,000
tags. A request was made of all agencies to supply the LMTC with information to
bring the database of CWT returns up to date. Willingness of agencies to share
data for review by the LMTC is extremely important.
Sea lamprey wounding/control activities: (Appendix IV, V)
Mark Ebener (COTFMA) presented report on sea lamprey wounding
of lake trout in Lake Michigan and Dennis Lavis (USFWS) presented report on
Sea lamprey management.
Lake Superior sea lamprey abundance has declined along with Lake
Michigan. A significant rise was noticed in Lake Huron.
As expressed by the proportion of A1 marks, the incidence of fresh lamprey
attacks, continues to be lowest in northern Wisconsin waters and greatest in
northern Michigan waters.
Wounding of lake trout declined for the first time since 1986-87. Average
lakewide wounding rate also declined across all sizes of lake trout. Changes in sea
lamprey wounding of fish from 1993-94 were similar among sections of Lake
At the Sheboygan Reef, sea lamprey wounding increased substantially. May
be due to fact that more large lake trout were captured at that site in 1994 than in
any other year. Sea lamprey-induced mortality of lake trout in Lake Michigan is
generally low, less than 9% on a lakewide basis, in most years.
The assessment of adult and larval sea lamprey population and lampricide
treatments of infested streams continued in 1994. A total of 105 streams were
surveyed, 59 of which contained reestablished larval lampreys. Lampricide
treatments were completed on nine streams. Assessment traps placed in 13
streams. Sport and commercial fishers collected a total of 347 parasitic-phrase sea
lamprey. Analysis of macroinvertebrate riffle community studies continued.
LMC is currently revising the draft Fish Community Objectives it developed
in 1990 for accomplishing the goal of establishing self-sustaining lake trout
populations capable of sustaining harvest.
Mark Holey presented Ed Brown with a print in honor of his 35 years of
service to the fisheries resources of Lake Michigan.
Fish stocking in Lake Michigan: (Appendix VI)
Mark Holey presented a report on trout and salmon stocking by four
states bordering Lake Michigan.
A total of 15.035 million fish were stocked in 1994
Chinook stocking increased this year after a four year decline
Coho stocking lakewide dropped for the third year
Rainbow trout showed a slight increase in numbers stocked
Brown trout stocking increased lakewide by, 500,000 fish
Brook trout stocking decreased
Splake stocked by Wisconsin and Michigan, totalling 127,000 fish
Lake trout stocking increased lakewide by 300,000 fish
Yellow perch: (Appendix VII)
Status report prepared by Rich Hess summarizing yellow perch.
Northern Lake Michigan Assessment data from this portion of the lake is
sparse. Assessment by (WDNR) found a concentration of juvenile perch in
Moonlight Bay north of Baileys Harbor, Door County, on the lake side of the
peninsula. The only other assessment information comes from the (NBS). As in
the past four years, YOY perch have not been collected in trawls at Manistique.
Green Bay Capture rate of YOY perch was the fourth lowest since
assessment began. Three consecutive weak year classes occurred from 1992-94.
Tagging studies indicate little or no movement of perch between the bay and lake
in this area.
No trend in relative abundance of YOY perch is apparent in Little Bay de
Noc, Michigan. Recovered tags indicate there may be little movement from Little
Bay de Noc to Big Bay de Noc.
Central Lake Michigan assessment data is scant.
Southern Lake Michigan A decline of age 3+ perch continued. Captures of
YOY perch remained extremely low in the annual beach seine assessment and in
Illinois and Indiana's trawl surveys.
Yellow Perch Task Group Progress Report: Although we are not yet in a
position to make a definitive statement about discrete stocks based upon an
evaluation of consolidated lakewide data, there is at least some evidence from
tagging studies in Lake Michigan that separate stocks may exist. Also, new
studies from the INHS would permit stock differentiation. A collaborative plan
was initiated by Lake Michigan Fish Chiefs to expedite rule changes to reduce both
sport and commercial harvests. Both law enforcement and yellow perch research
will be expanded.
Commercial/sport harvest: (Appendix VIII)
Jim Francis highlighted the Lake Michigan harvest data.
Total biomass of fish harvested declined
Slight decline in the weir harvest
Incidental catch in the commercial fishery increased
Largest decline in annual extractions occurred in sport and
Commercial harvest of lake whitefish and menominee have remained
stable; suckers more variable but increased; rainbow smelt declined for the
second consecutive year. Alewife harvest very low; bloater chub harvest
lowest since 1985. Yellow perch abundance continued the declining trend.
Sport fishery harvest of coho remained constant, along with lake
trout, brown trout and steelhead. Chinook salmon increased
Status of forage fish stocks: (Appendix IX)
Presentation given by Ed Brown on data representing relative
Relative abundance of adult bloaters, smelt and alewives decreased for the
second consecutive year. Slimy sculpins were slightly more abundant but
abundance of deepwater sculpins was the lowest since 1974. Predation from a
greatly expanded burbot population may be implicated in the low deepwater
sculpin abundance. Reproduction of yellow perch was very poor for the fourth
year; only one was taken lakewide in 1991 and none in 1992-94. Recruitment has
been declining in the bloater population based on decreasing abundance and
biomass. The extremely low abundance indices of YOY bloaters may have been
exaggerated. Estimated total biomass of prey fish available to bottom trawls in
1994 was 265 thousand metric tons, consisting of 73.0% bloaters, 6.6% alewives,
2.9% rainbow smelt, and 17.4% sculpins. The unanswered question is whether
reported effects of exotic invertebrates on food web dynamics and bioenergetics of
prey fish may be depressing prey fish recruitment, as measured by these
Progress report by Ray Argyle on integrated acoustic and trawl forage
surveys. (Appendix X, XI)
Gear modifications enabled research to be conducted over a broader range of
weather conditions. With increased stability, the acoustic signal returns were
better quality and bottom tracking improved. The new processing software is
highly efficient, initial processing time for a lakewide survey has been reduced from
several weeks to less than a day.
The relation between target strength and fish size is one of the most
important and difficult parameters to estimate.
Spring, 1993 prey fish food habit studies analysis of prey fish diets is nearly
completed and cursory examination of the diet data show considerable overlap of
the diets of alewives, rainbow smelt and bloaters, with some exceptions.
A total of 68 midwater trawl tows were completed. Catches from the various
depths were somewhat shallower and lower. The greatest mean density of the
three major pelagic fishes occurred in shallower waters, due principally to the near-shore concentration
of alewives, generally declined with depth. Bloaters accounted for the largest proportion of biomass at all
but the shallowest depths.
Based on acoustic surveys in fall 1994 the estimated lakewide forage biomass
consisted of bloaters (74%), alewives (20%), and smelt (6%).
Status of Coho Management (Appendix XII)
Tom Trudeau presented report on progress.
Low number of coho stocked in 1994. Responding to catastrophic hatchery
mortality, the Lake Michigan Management Agencies devised a strategy to insure
that sufficient numbers of mature coho return to weirs. This could be achieved by
making use of survival estimates from a probability model and implementation by
all agencies of a three coho sport harvest bag limit.
States bordering Lake Michigan have implemented a three coho bag limit for
the 1995 season.
Anticipated 1995 stocking of 1.8 million coho will be approximately 80% of
2.3 million fish stocking goal.
Optimistically, a cause of sac-fry mortality in hatcheries may have been
identified. Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) may be linked to a nutritional
deficiency caused by lack of thiamine (Vitamin B1) in the diet of female coho. The
early success with thiamine for reducing coho mortality is encouraging. Many
questions remain. We need a better understanding of recent ecosystem changes.
We need to not just address the symptoms of this syndrome but identify the
Ellen Marsden presented this segment on the goby.
The problem associated with the goby is relatively no history is known of
invasion in other areas, species has virtually been ignored. Little is known of its
potential impact on the Great Lakes. Native of Black/Caspian Sea area
transported by ballast water, one of the sculpin species.
Distinctive feature of the goby is the presence of fused pelvic fin. Maximum
length 10-12 inches. Reproduce continually from April-September (approximately
5,000 eggs). Habitat is preferably rocky, gravel or sandy areas. Diet is small
mollusks, juvenile fishes and insects. They do consume zebra mussels, however,
not seen as an effective bio-control agent given the relative reproductive rate of the
Readily transported to areas, population expands rapidly, high potential of
displacing native species, species they don't displace they consume.
Complaints have been received from sport fishermen on the Detroit and St.
Clair Rivers about goby stealing bait.
They voraciously eat lake trout eggs and lake trout fry. This will have
repercussions to lake trout rehabilitation project.
By 1993, reports of invasion on Lake Erie and by 1994 at South Haven on
the east shore of Lake Michigan, a tentative reporting from the Milwaukee,
Funding is not available for study at this time. At this point, they have not
been considered a nuisance species for Sea Grant to fund.
NHS will conduct research this year to track their spread and population
Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP)
Presentation given by Gary Kohlhepp, EPA, LaMP Coordinator
First draft out in 1992, followed by period for public comment. Revised draft
due out soon, to be followed by another short public review period.
Toxic pollutants are focus of current plan. As plan is expanded later, it will
include other areas such as habitat and exotics. Best time then for fisheries
agencies to collaborate on plan. So far, mostly water quality people from state
agencies involved in plan. Fish biologists will have opportunities later as plan is
expanded to their areas of expertise.
Looking for toxic stressors in Lake, what, where originating, areas of greatest
loading so eventually remedial action can be targeted accordingly. Want to be able
to link our actions to improvements in environment using indicators, something we
Opportunities for interaction between LaMP and Fish Commission will be in
areas such as habitat, exotics, and environmental indicators. Mark Holey already
involved in helping to choose indicators.
Outline of sampling plan was given. Sampling started in 1994 and will
continue through 1995. Lake trout, coho salmon, and bloater chub are fish species
currently being sampled for diets and contaminants.
Management/Research/Agency Issues or Highlights (Appendix XIII, XIV)
WDNR highlights contained in mimeo handout entitled Lake Michigan
Management Report, which was made available to participants at meeting.
Wisconsin completed the Lake Michigan Fisheries Integrated Management Plan,
which will be in effect through the year 2000. The plan was recently approved by Natural
MDNR summary of ongoing research contained in mimeo handout made available to
participants at the meeting, Fisheries Research and Management Report, Michigan Waters
of Lake Michigan, 1994. Fisheries Division.
COTFMA no specific agency issues.
IDOC no specific agency issues.
IDNR no specific agency issues.
Adjourn (Appendix XV)
The next meeting of the Lake Michigan Committee will be in Duluth
Minnesota. Chairman elect is John Trimberger. Meeting adjourned.