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Natural Reproduction Fueling Lake Superior Chinook Fishery

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More than 99 percent of the Chinook salmon caught in Lake Superior are wild.

That’s what the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports after examining angler catches. Most of the chinook caught in the lake have reproduced naturally.

“Having such consistent catches coming from wild fish is something to celebrate,” says Phil Schneeberger, the DNR’s Lake Superior Basin coordinator.

Since 2012, the DNR has stocked 1.5 million Chinook in Lake Superior. The DNR says that all of the stocked fish have been marked with an adipose fin clip via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mass marking program.

DNR creel clerks have examined the fish caught by anglers, and the percentage of fish that are wild is derived from the ratio of unclipped versus clipped Chinook salmon.

According to the DNR, the percent of wild to stocked has been high over the past three years.

Anglers catch about 3,000 of the salmon in Lake Superior every year. The DNR says make this species third in terms of being sustained by natural reproduction in Lake Superior, following lake trout and coho salmon.

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Natural Reproduction Fueling Lake Superior Chinook Fishery