Lake Michigan Committee
20, 21 March 1996
1. Lake Huron's SIMPLE modelling
The LMC supported the LHC's proposal for the GLFC's Coordination Activities Program. On the LHC's behalf Jim Bence (MSU) will submit a proposal for building on last year's work on Sustainability of Intensively Managed Populations in Lake Ecosystems.
2. Creel survey plan
The LMC thanked Jim Bence (MSU) and the Lake Michigan Technical Committee for developing a lakewide plan for creel census. The LMC hopes to secure funding for collection of data from the Ludington Pump Storage settlement when available. The USFWS Fishery Resource Office offered to maintain the data. And Jim Bence offered to write a computer program to handle the data when it becomes available.
3. Lake trout rehabilitation plan update
LMTC Chair Mark Holey reported that the lake trout rehabilitation plan update will be available for review by both the Technical Committee and the LMC by summer.
4. Effect of size-at-stocking on lake trout survival
The LMC decided that it was sufficient for Lake Michigan to provide one site for the size-at-stocking study since Lakes Huron and Superior will also each provide a site. The Lake Michigan Technical Committee will provide a study plan (locations, sampling) for LMC review as an appendix to the updated lake trout rehabilitation plan.
5. Future scenarios for lake trout stocking in Lake Michigan
With the cessation of stocking in some waters of Lake Superior, Dale Bast (USFWS) anticipated that Lake Michigan would receive an additional 260,000 hatchery lake trout. These additional fish will allow Lake Michigan's stocking target of 2.1 million to be met, and thus all secondary sites in the 1988 revision of the lake trout rehabilitation plan will be stocked. The LMC charged the LMTC to review the 1988 stocking scheme and a proposal for alternate year stocking of refuges, and to recommend any needed revisions for 1997 and on. The LMTC Chair reported that lake trout rehabilitation efforts are providing 45% of the sport catch in MM-4.
6. Stocking lake trout eggs and fry
The LMC requested that the LMTC discuss with the LHTC recommended uses (e.g. astroturf and fry stocking) of the 2-4 million excess eggs produced by backup broodstock, and recommend specifics for study plans to the LMC in the updated lake trout rehabilitation plan for Lake Michigan.
In a frank discussion, Michigan DNR expressed dismay that the USFWS, with GLFC support, had collected eggs of Lake Superior's "humper" lake trout for isolation as a first step in developing a broodstock for Lake Michigan's midlake refuge. The USFWS, noting lack of consensus among LMC members, stated that it had acted to preserve an option for the future, although it conceded that in doing so it may have precluded development of another strain until the two year isolation period is complete: stocking, not broodstock development is irrevocable. Humpers are a possible backup should the Green Lake strain do poorly on Midlake Refuge. They were suggested as ecologically suitable for that habitat. However there is some concern that humpers might ultimately prove unsuitable for the sport fishery.
a. The LMC reiterated the need for a well-rationalized and up-to-date lake trout rehabilitation plan that is credible to the public. LMC members will send a list of deepwater lake trout strains, plus concerns and issues related to humpers, for LMTC evaluation. Later, this information could also be referred to Jim Peck's (MDNR) lake trout task area on the GLFC's Board of Technical Experts.
b. With regard to humpers, the LMTC was charged to debate and recommend to the LMC whether this strain should be abandoned or further developed. These recommendations should be made at two years (when the fish would leave the isolation facility for the broodstock holding facility) and at six years (first egg-take).
c. LMC members committed themselves to consultation and consensus on strain selection of all salmonids. Technical committee members and agencies should all bring such planting decisions to the LMC. All changes in stocking practice that have any potential for significant impact are to be brought to the LMC.
8. Alewife's role in the lake
a. Randy Eshenroder (GLFC) will organize a fall 96 workshop which will examine data, models, and fish community objectives with a focus on alewife and management options (location and intensity of stocking and harvest in "coho equivalents"). An effort would be made to address species such as yellow perch which are not now found in the SIMPLE model.
b. Bill Horns (WDNR) will discuss with the LMTC modelling needs with respect to fish community objectives, and priorities in the LMTC's work plan.
9. Sea lamprey control budget reduced by Canada
LMC Chair John Trimberger (MDNR) will draft letters to the State Department and Canadian Foreign Affairs (cc DFO) re treay obligations and the impacts of reduced sea lamprey control.
10. Status of lake trout stocking and extraction strategy
The LMTC will consider at its summer meeting lake trout stocking and harvest options for consideration at the fall workshop (LMC-96-8a).
MD 1 April 1996