Lake Superior Technical Committee

Meeting Minutes


Ashland, WI

January 28-30, 1997



List of Attendees:

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources - Mike Petzold, Rob Steedman

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Stephen Schram, Bob DuBois

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Jim Peck

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Don Schreiner

Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans - Rob Young

United States Geological Service, Biological Resource Division - Chuck Bronte, Mike Hoff

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission - Bill Mattes

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewas - Joe Dan Rose

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewas - Mike Gallinat

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - Mike Donofrio

Chippewa/Ottawa Treaty Fishery Management Authority - Mark Ebener

Bay Mills Indian Community - Ken Gebhardt

United States Fish and Wildlife Service - Dale Bast, Gary Klar, Tom Busiahn, Henry Quinlan, Lee Newman

University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology - Doran Mason, Tim Johnson, Chris Harvey

Northland College - Derek Ogle

Michigan Technology University - Nancy Auer

Grand Portage Chippewa Band - John Johnson

Batchawana First Nation - Doug Belonger

Environmental Protection Agency - Steve Lozono, Anett Trebitz

Isle Royale National Park - Jack Olfke

Michigan State University - Jim Bence

Agenda Item 1 - Reorganization of Ann Arbor Laboratory

Chuck Bronte distributed a flow chart that illustrated the present organizational structure of the Ann Arbor Laboratory. The laboratory is now operated by the Biological Resource Division of the United States Geological Survey. What used to be called Lake Project Sections were changed into Branches and there now are three basin branches; Western, Central, and Eastern. The Habitats and Contaminants Section was split into Ecosystem Dynamics Branch, and Coastal & Wetland Ecology Branch. The lake projects now have no control over research vessel organization and planning. It appears to the LSTC that the USGS-BRD is de-emphasizing the long-term forage surveys historically conducted by the laboratory and considered important by fishery management agencies around Lake Superior. The LSTC considers the annual forage survey work essential to: (1) understand predator-prey dynamics in Lake Superior, and (2) monitor the health of the Lake Superior ecosystem as called for in the Binational Forum. In addition, there is concern about the status of the supposed new research vessel that was designated for Lake Superior, and the physical condition of the present research vessel Siscowet.

Action Item: LSTC chairman will write a letter to USGS expressing the committees concern about maintaining the long-term forage fish monitoring program on Lake Superior, and the need for a physically and mechanically sound research vessel for Lake Superior.


Agenda Item 2 - Sea Lamprey Management

Gary Klar summarized the sea lamprey spawning population assessments and sterile-male activities on Lake Superior in 1996. The size of the spawning population of sea lampreys in the western basin of the lake doubled from 1995 to 1996. The control agents believe the increase in number of spawning sea lamprey was due to the lack of treatment on the Bad River in 1994. In the continuing saga of budget restrictions, the GLFC has asked the control agents to evaluate the impact on the control program of a $500,000 decrease in monies for assessment of spawning sea lamprey throughout the Great Lakes basin. The control agents are currently reviewing the present adult assessment protocol and looking for input from agencies outside the control program. Gary also reported that there were fewer male sea lampreys available for the sterile male release in 1996, and as a result, the ratio of sterile to normal males was only 0.6:1.


Rob Young reviewed the sampling methodology for selection of streams to be chemically treated in 1997 and showed the cost curve for treatments. The selection process has four major criteria;

Rate of transformation is important in determining the need to treat a stream. The control agents identified 25 streams that will have transformers migrating into Lake Superior in 1997. Twelve of these streams and three lentic populations of lampreys will be treated in 1997. The control agents hope to eliminate about 98% of the transformers in the twelve streams.


The GLFC has asked the control agents to evaluate the effects on the entire control program in the Great Lakes of taking monies from the regular program to treat the St. Marys River. The St. Marys River Control Task Group will finalize a list options for controlling sea lampreys in the St. Marys River by the end of February 1997. SLIC will present options for control of the St. Marys River sea lamprey population and an assessment of the impacts on control in the river to control throughout the remainder of the basin at the annual meeting of the GLFC in June 1997. The GLFC will make a final decision by December 1997 as to whether or not monies for control of sea lampreys in the St. Marys River will be taken from the regular control program. Currently, the GLFC spends about $5 million annually for sea lamprey treatments throughout the Great Lakes, the St. Marys River alone will cost at least $2-3 million annually.


Rob Young asked the LSTC to tell the control agents what the impact of higher sea lamprey numbers will mean to the lake trout rehabilitation process in Lake Superior. Rob provided the LSTC with several scenarios on lamprey abundance that may result from declines in the total control budget for the Great Lakes basin because of control activities on the St. Marys River. Those scenarios were:


The LSTC discussed the present status of the sterile-male release control method, and the usefulness of reducing the scope of that method on Lake Superior. The sterile-male program is in the second year of a four year experiment that is occurring on eight Lake Superior tributaries.


Action Items:

The LSTC recommends that the sterile-male program on the eight experimental streams should be maintained and given high priority for funding by the GLFC, while sterile-male control methods on the other Lake Superior streams should be discontinued. Sea lamprey barriers that do not have high cost effectiveness should also be considered for decreases in funding.

Jim Bence and Chris Weeks will use their population models for MI-4 and WI-2 to estimate proportional changes in number of dead lake trout that would occur due to increases in the number of sea lampreys. The control agents on the LSTC agreed to identify streams that are important for control on Lake Superior, and they will also illustrate the effects on transformer production that will occur by treating or not treating those tributaries.


Agenda Item 3 - Standardized sea lamprey evaluation

Mark Ebener asked the LSTC for their opinion on the usefulness of a workshop to evaluate the current sea lamprey wounding classification. The workshop would be used to understand the differences in sea lamprey wounding that may occur due to differences between agencies in classifying marks. One approach on Lake Superior would be to review changes in sea lamprey marking of lake trout between WiDNR and MnDNR in western Lake Superior. The LHTC will be holding a workshop to evaluate the classification of sea lamprey marks on lake trout sometime during April 14-25, 1997. The LSTC suggested that the LHTC videotape the workshop for training of individuals that will not attend. LSTC members and their field staff are encouraged to attend the workshop.

Agenda Item 4 - Temporal signatures with lake trout scales

Derek Ogle from Northland College gave a presentation describing the results from his dissertation research. The first portion addressed annulus and check formation on the scales of lake trout from five different hatcheries. Derek found that scales generally showed annulus formation on the hatchery fish, but annulus and check formation varied between hatcheries. Hatcheries with variable water temperature produced fish that seemed to not get accessory marks on the scales.


The temporal portion of the work focused on using year specific patterns in growth and various statistical analyzes to assign ages to fish that could not be aged because the outer portion of the scale did not show the last few annulus. The method proved to be useful for walleyes.

Agenda Item 5 - Otolith replication study

Mike Hoff gave a brief report on the LSTC otolith replication study. The study is about 3/4 finished. The otoliths still have to be sent to several other agencies. Mike calculated total annual mortality from scales and otoliths using the ages assigned by several of the agencies already.

Agenda Item 6 - Subcommittee Reports

Nancy Auer, Mike Hoff, and Lee Newman distributed copies of the final status reports for lake sturgeon, walleye, and brook trout, respectively, and reported on the status of the restoration plans that are being developed by each subcommittee. The next meeting of the sturgeon subcommittee will take place in April 1997. The walleye subcommittee met once since the last meeting of the LSTC and has begun the process of writing the restoration plan. Bob DuBois, a member of the brook trout subcommittee, provided the LSTC with a handout detailing goals for restoration of brook trout in Lake Superior. Mark Ebener had sent a letter to each subcommittee chair requesting that objectives and restoration plans for each species address quantifiable habitat goals. Mike Hoff distributed a handout that described habitat goals for walleye, but Mike's handout has not been distributed to the rest of the walleye subcommittee.


Action Item: LSTC members should provide Bob DuBois with comments on the goals for restoration of brook trout in Lake Superior. LSTC members should also provide Mike Hoff with feedback on habitat goals for the walleye restoration plan.


The LSTC also discussed the status and perceived need for a steelhead subcommittee. Much has changed in the ten or so years since the steelhead subcommittee was created. Steelhead subcommittee chairman Jim Peck will not be able to devote much time to the subcommittee, and most agencies have developed, or will, their own status reports for steelhead. For these reasons, the LSTC did not see the need to continue the steelhead subcommittee. The LSTC recommends that the steelhead subcommittee be disbanded and die naturally. Meanwhile, individual agencies will continue to compile their own status reports on steelhead.

Agenda Item 7 - Stock delineation of brook trout

The Ashland USGS-BRD and Ashland Fishery Resource Office of the USFWS will be investigating the utility of whole-body morphometrics to delineate stocks of brook trout on Isle Royale. By establishing landmarks on various parts of the fish and measuring the distance between the landmarks, multi-variate statistics will be used to delineate stocks of fish. The USFWS and Trout-Unlimited are funding the study that will also compare Isle Royale brook trout with the Lake Nipigon stock.


A concern was raised by the LSTC as to why brook trout stocks along the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior are not being studied as intensively as the Isle Royale stocks. The LSTC also asked if we know what a coaster is? Ebener reminded the LSTC and brook trout subcommittee that we are developing a brook trout restoration plan, not a coaster restoration plan.


Dale Bast raised a concern about replicating genetic analysis of brook trout stocks. Mary Burnham-Curtis has conducted genetic analysis on Isle Royale brook trout and they appear similar to Lake Nipigon stocks. The USFWS is also conducting some genetic analysis themselves. The brook trout subcommittee wants to have the American Fisheries Society (AFS) evaluate the appropriate brood stocks for stocking into Lake Superior.


Action Item: The LSTC recommends to the brook trout subcommittee that the analysis of appropriate brood stocks for Lake Superior by the AFS is not necessary at this time. First define the existing stocks around the lake and identify factors limiting brook trout abundance, then there can be an evaluation of brood stocks.


The LSTC would like to have Mary-Burnham Curtis describe the genetic analysis of Lake Superior brook trout that she has conducted so far. Mark Ebener will ask Mary to give a presentation at the summer meeting of the LSTC.

Agenda Item 8 - Quantifiable fish community objectives

The LSC has requested that the LSTC provide them more input for FCO's. In particular, the LSC want the LSTC to consider for each species listed in FCO's the existing knowledge about habitat requirements and environmental stresses to each species. Mark Ebener invited Rob Steedman from the Binational Forum to attend the meeting to help keep the LSTC focused on habitat issues. Rob Steedman outlined the basis and history of ecosystem principles and objectives for the Lake Superior Binational Forum. The Binational Forum just provides an umbrella context for addressing ecosystem objectives and monitoring of the indicators.


Mark Ebener distributed a map developed by the Binational Program that identified important habitat around Lake Superior. The LSTC held extensive discussions in an attempt to better understand the charge from the LSC. From the discussions, the LSTC reached some consensus and outlined strategies for addressing the charge from the LSC.


The sea lamprey control program has done extensive work at quantifying habitat and distribution of each habitat type in many sea lamprey producing streams around Lake Superior. The sea lamprey control agents will provide the LSTC with a list of streams where they have conducted habitat work, and they will describe the amount and distribution of each habitat type in the streams. The Sea Lamprey Barrier Task Group will also be able to identify spawning habitat below barriers.

The variability of stream flow may be a good indicator of ecosystem health in tributaries.

For lake trout, we will use the current management areas as the spatial scale for important habitats within Lake Superior. Spatial resolution for other species will be different. Subcommittees will do their own evaluations of spatial resolution and critical habitat.

Individuals from the LSTC will describe quantifiable habitat within each jurisdiction for species listed in the FCO's other than walleye, lake sturgeon, and brook trout. Individuals need to define what is critical habitat for each fish species and identify that habitat for protection as illustrated on the map of important habitat in Lake Superior. LSTC members and participants in need of a map should contact Mark Ebener.


Action Item: Stephen Schram will review the critical habitats in Wisconsin, Mike Donofrio and Ken Gebhardt will do the same for Michigan, while Mike Petzold and Wayne MacCallum will review habitat in Ontario waters. Rob Young will put together information for sea lamprey streams. Mark Ebener and Mike Petzold will try to evaluate habitat requirements for species in Lake Superior as we currently understand them.

Agenda Item 9 - Aquatic community indicators

Bob Thomson asked the LSTC to develop a matrix that illustrates research and assessment activities of each agency as they relate to aquatic community indicators for Lake Superior. The matrix should show within the offshore, nearshore, harbor and embayments, and tributary habitats of Lake Superior, the indicator(s) each agency is measuring. The basic indicators developed by the LSTC are trends in abundance of indigenous and non-indigenous species, the amount of natural reproduction, and trends in contaminants. The assessments listed in the matrices do not always occur every year. Rob Steedman reminded the LSTC that Binational Forum contacts may be valuable for finding monies to assist agencies with collection of information for the indicators. The matrices were completed by the LSTC and Mark Ebener will forward them to Bob Thomson.

Agenda Item 10 - Lake trout model

Jim Bence provided a progress report on the statistical catch at age analysis Chris Weeks is doing on lake trout stocks in Lake Superior. Their goals were to estimate recruitment and mortality of wild fish, and secondarily growth. The model uses von Bertalanffy growth curves to model mean length and selectivity of fishing gear to lake trout each year. The model uses a normal distribution to estimate variability about mean length at age. Estimates of L for lake trout in MI-4 was highly variable, with stable growth prior to 1980, variable growth in the 1980s, and an increase in L after 1985. Chris had difficulty matching predicted and actual CPUE in spring surveys during the 1980s. The model had good fit between predicted and actual mean length at age for fish greater than age 6, but for fish less than age 7 Chris had difficulty matching predicted and actual values. Fishing mortality rate is greater than other sources of mortality in MI-4 for both wild and hatchery fish. Wild and hatchery fish were estimated to have the same mortality rates. Predicted recruitment of stocked fish did not follow trends in stocking rates; i.e. this analysis supports our pre-existing knowledge that hatchery-reared fish are not surviving very well. For management areas other than MI-4, Chris and Jim are only compiling the information necessary to do the catch at age analysis. Chris and Jim agreed to provide the LSTC with an analysis of the effects of increases in sea lamprey abundance on number of lake trout killed and those effects on the rehabilitation process.

Agenda Item 11 - Hansen's Sea Grant proposal

Mike Hansen is seeking Sea Grant funds to evaluate factors limiting survival of wild lake trout in Lake Superior. Mike is asking the LSTC to support a pre-proposal since much of the analysis will be conducted with data from each of the agencies. Essentially, it appears he is going to conduct the same analysis as in the paper that described factors limiting survival of hatchery-reared fish. No consensus of support was reached by the LSTC regarding Hansen's proposal mainly because some LSTC members have concerns about exactly what the analysis is about. If the analysis is identical to the previous paper, than would we expect the results to be any different than the first analysis? LSTC members with concerns about the proposal and analysis will talk directly to Mike. These individuals should report back to the LSTC chairman about writing a letter in support of the proposal.

Agenda Item 12- Isle Royale lake trout assessment

Ebener talked to Gary Curtis about finishing the manuscript describing lake trout stocks around Isle Royale and Gary indicated he is currently editing the manuscript for another submission to AFS.


Chuck Bronte summarized lake trout assessments conducted at Isle Royale in 1993. Chuck compared some basic statistics obtained from the survey with data from other areas in the same year. His results were:

Chuck indicated that there is more phenotypic variation in lake trout caught around Isle Royale than other areas of the lake.

Jim Peck summarized assessments of lake trout at Isle Royale during 1991-1996. Jim made the same comparison as Chuck Bronte, but only between MI-4 and MI-1. Jim found results similar to Chuck. Jim suggested that in order to compare our nearshore areas with Isle Royale we will have to do surveys around the island every so often. Jim would like LSTC members to comment on the draft document he provided the committee. Jim Peck also indicated that Michigan will amend Sivertson's permit to require them to take otoliths. John Johnson and MnDNR will train Sivertson's in how to take otoliths. The Sivertson permit will cease when the permit holder dies. Sivertson's fishery takes place mainly in September and October of each year, while the Edisen fishery takes place mainly during June to September. The Park Service is planning to continue the Edisen fishery well into the future.


Jack Olfke articulated the Isle Royale National Park (IRNP) philosophy toward resource management. The IRNP has a strict resource protection mandate, except for sport fisheries which are viewed as being compatable with park philosophy. The IRNP also has a mandate to monitor the status of resources within the park, but they have not done a very good job at that. The IRNP is seeking help to assess the status of fish stocks within park boundaries. Jack Olfke asked the LSTC for their evaluation of fish stocks around the island in comparison to other areas of Lake Superior.


Because the Edisen fishery assessment is very limited and the Sivertson fishery operates mainly during the fall, the LSTC recognizes the need for a more comprehensive survey of lake trout stocks around Isle Royale. The LSTC recommends that the USGS-BRD conduct a comprehensive survey of lake trout populations around Isle Royale every five years in cooperation with other agencies, and that the survey provide an analysis of the genetic diversity of lake trout stocks around the island.


Action Item: Jack Olfke, Jim Peck, Chuck Bronte, and Mike Donofrio will formulate a comprehensive plan for assessing lake trout stocks around Isle Royale. Mark Ebener will write a letter to the IRNP superintendent and Tom Edsall of the USGS-BRD expressing the LSTC's perceived need for a comprehensive survey of lake trout resources around Isle Royale.

Agenda Item 13 - Hydroacoustics survey

During August 1996, a coordinated hydroacoustics survey was conducted in the Minnesota and Wisconsin waters of the western arm of Lake Superior. There was no coverage in northern Minnesota. Agencies cooperating were the EPA, BRD, MnDNR, WiDNR, and UW-Madison. The survey covered about 500 km of acoustics pinging and 15 midwater trawls in three ecosystems. This survey only addressed prey species. Biomass estimates ranged from 0 to 0.1 g/m³, in Lakes Michigan and Ontario the densities could range up to 10 g/m³. Most of the fish were located inshore in waters less than 70 m deep, but there were fish distributed across the entire lake near the surface. The greatest densities were located near Duluth. Densities declined with increased distance from Duluth, but the most northerly transact had substantially higher densities than other areas outside Duluth. There were size difference in prey species associated with changes in depth. Smaller sized fish were found mainly within the first 6-8 m of the surface, while larger fish were deeper. Doran Mason indicated that he needed to fix noise problems in some transects and summarize data for transects in Wisconsin waters before a final report is ready. It appears that there will be another cruise in the summer of 1997 in northern Minnesota and Apostle Islands.

Agenda Item 14 - Data analyst position at USFWS Green Bay office

Henry Quinlan updated the LSTC on the data analyst position to be filled at the Fishery Resource Office in Green Bay, WI. The position will serve all the upper three Great Lakes lake and technical committees, Fishery Assistance Offices, and the federal hatcheries.

Agenda Item 15 - Fishery Databases

Mike Hoff discussed the ciscoe database. He requested input from the LSTC as to whether or not the database should be linked to mesh size. The LSTC did not see the need for the database to be linked to mesh size. COTFMA and MnDNR are the only agencies that have supplied Mike with ciscoe data so far.


Prior to the meeting, Chuck Bronte had provided LSTC members and participants with a proposed database structure to be used for maintaining biological information on predators other than lean lake trout that are caught in agency surveys, sampled during creel surveys, or caught in commercial fisheries. The LSTC suggested that Chuck should include fields for specimen number, sample number, and sea lamprey wounding in the database. The database does not have to be relational. LSTC members and participants should respond to Chuck regarding the format of the database and fields. Agencies must remember to describe the codes they use in their respective databases when sending the electronic data to Chuck. Chuck will talk to Scott Nelson about the status of the lake trout database initially put together by Dick Pycha and subsequently updated by Mike Hansen.


Bill Mattes identified the need in the harvest database for the Ontario, GLIFWC, and Red Cliff commercial harvests. Bill will continue to work with Scott Nelson of the USGS-BRD to make sure the harvest database is updated with the appropriate information.



Action Item: Mark Ebener will write to Rick Clark requesting MDNR biological creel survey data be added to the LSTC predator database.


Agenda Item 16 - Lake Committee Reports

Agenda items for the upcoming LSC meeting were discussed. The following agenda items and associated presenter were agreed to by the LSTC.


1) Report of the LSTC - Mark Ebener

2) Harvest report - Bill Mattes

3) Status of lake trout stocking - Don Schreiner

4) Forage update along with stability of Chequamegon Bay fish community - Mike Hoff

5) Results from the inter-agency siscowet survey - Mark Ebener

agencies supply diet information in format outlined by Mark

6) Results from hydroacoustics survey - Doran Mason

7) Sea lamprey control activities in 1996 - Gary Klar

8) Sea lamprey marking of lake trout - Mark Ebener

9) Sea lamprey management issues - Gavin Christie

effects on lake trout rehabilitation which may result from using program dollars to treat the St. Marys River

Chris Weeks and Jim Bence will supply estimates of lake trout killed at various levels of funding for the St. Marys River based on control options from the agents

10) Executive session agenda items

BRD reorganization and research vessel status

Sea lamprey impacts from St. Marys River control

reduction in scope of the sterile-male sea lamprey methods on Lake Superior

barrier dam issues

Agenda Item 17 - Siscowet Assessment

Various agencies summarized the diet information collected as part of the coordinated inter-agency lake trout/siscowet survey conducted during June 1996.

MI-5 - terrestrial insects and sculpins were the most frequency eaten food items, but coregonines and burbot made up the greatest proportion by weight of food in the diet of siscowets.

MI-2 - herring were the most commonly eaten food item by lean lake trout, whereas coregonines were the most common item in the diet of siscowets. Also found substantial amounts of bullheads in the diet of siscowet caught in 10-20 fathoms of water.

MI-7 - coregonines, terrestrial insects, sculpins, and Mysis were the most common food items in terms of weight.

MN-1 - coregonines and insects occurred most often in the diet of siscowets.

MI-4 - lean and siscowet diets were not summarized from the June assessments. However, Mike Donofrio collected diet information from siscowets and leans during September, smelt and then chubs were the most common prey items.

In summary, terrestrial insects and sculpins were the most frequency consumed prey item by siscowets, but coregonines made up the largest weight of food items eaten. Birds were also commonly found in the stomachs of siscowets from all areas.


Mark Ebener summarized the sea lamprey marking of siscowets caught during the June survey. Sea lamprey marking of siscowets averaged 5 marks per 100 fish captured across all sizes and areas sampled. Sea lamprey marking rates ranged from 0 marks per 100 siscowets <17 inches long to 33 marks per 100 siscowets >28 inches long. An average of 14 scars per 100 siscowets caught had sea lamprey scars. The total sea lamprey marking rate that includes both wounds and scars averaged 19 marks per 100 siscowets. Nearly every siscowet >28 inches long bore a sea lamprey scar. Sea lamprey marking of siscowets increased with increasing depth. The proportion of siscowets with fresh sea lamprey wounds ranged from 0 marks per 100 fish in waters less than 20 fathoms to 7 marks per 100 fish in waters 70 fathoms deep. The trend of increasing marking rate with depth was more evident for scars than fresh marks.

Chuck Bronte aged siscowets from MI-2 for Mike Gallinat. Siscowets from MI-2 ranged from 4-35 years old, with modes in abundance at age 12 and 23. Von Bertalanffy growth coefficients were: L = 1339, and k = 0.023.

All agencies agreed to conduct the survey again in 1997 sometime during late August and early September if possible, and to sample in waters >100 fathoms if possible. Tentative agency commitments for conducting the survey are as follows:


USGS-BRD & Ashland FRO - MI-1 if schedule permits

MnDNR & Grand Portage Band - MN-3

WiDNR - WI-1 & WI-2


MiDNR - MI-5


Agenda Item 18 - Lake Superior diet protocol

After some discussions, the LSTC agreed that the following protocol should be followed by all agencies conducting diet studies on Lake Superior:


1) Report diet in percent by weight of each prey item.

2) Report frequency of occurrence for each prey item.

3) Measure lengths of prey eaten when possible.

4) Collect 20 fish per size class from the standard five size classes within each depth strata and season for lean lake trout, siscowets, and burbot.

size classes are <200 mm, 200-399 mm, 400-599 mm, 600-799 mm, and >799 mm

5) For chinook salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout there should be three size classes that correspond to age 1, age 2, and age 3 and older fish.

6) For coho salmon there should be only two size classes that correspond to age 1, and age 2 and older fish.


The LSTC decided to collect 20 fish per size class because about 50% of the fish collected as part of the siscowet survey in 1996 had empty stomachs. Dale Bast reported that a good way to distinguish if a fish has recently eaten or not is based on the color of the gall bladder. Gall bladders that are dark green or blue indicate the fish has not eaten for several days.


Mark Ebener volunteered to process the stomachs of siscowets, lake trout, and burbot collected as part of the inter-agency siscowet survey in 1997 for agencies that will not be able to do so themselves. OMNR and Batchawana First Nation will try to coordinate collection of diet information from siscowets in Ontario waters in 1997.

Agenda Item 19 - Lake Superior basin trust

There was a $3 million court settlement that resulted from court action brought by the National Wildlife Federation, the MiDNR, and other organizations against the White Pine iron ore smelter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Lake Superior Basin Trust was established as part of the settlement to fund various environmental projects in Lake Superior. Chuck Bronte has submitted a proposal for monies from the settlement that USGS-BRD will use to map lake trout spawning habitat along the western Keweenaw Peninsula. USGS-BRD will map 50-60 miles of shoreline from Black River Harbor to West Entry. Nancy Auer and Bill Mattes have also submitted proposals for funding by the trust fund. The LSTC would like to see these projects funded.


Action Item: The LSTC chairman will write a letter to the Lake Superior Basin Trust supporting proposals that address projects which look at habitat issues within the Lake Superior basin.

Agenda Item 20 - Catch and mortality of loons in trap nets

Jim Peck distributed a handout addressing the capture of loons in the Michigan state-licensed trap net fishery on Lake Superior. MiDNR estimated 263 loons were captured and killed annually by the state-licensed trap net fishery on Lake Superior during 1983-1989. An additional study was conducted by a Northern Michigan University graduate student in 1995 and 1996 on the same trap net fishery. Initial results indicate that modifying trap nets by increasing the mesh size in the hearts to 12-inch stretched mesh reduced mortality of loons to zero when compared to the catch in the hearts of unmodified trap nets. Jim Peck will attempt to quantify the catch rate of whitefish in the modified and unmodified trap nets.

Agenda Item 21 - Application of RESTORE findings

The GLFC identified the need to continue the lake trout task group of BOTE. Jim Peck and Charlie Olver were appointed as co-chairs of the task group. The major goal of the lake trout task is:

to review documents from RESTORE and publish a paper synthesizing research findings and needs from RESTORE, and

to keep people focused on lake trout rehabilitation.

Jim and Charlie have made very little progress on the task. Additional copies of the RESTORE papers can be obtained from Randy Eshenroder at the GLFC.

Agenda Item 22 - Brood stocks at Keweenaw Bay Isolation facility

The lake trout and brook trout strains currently being held at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Fish Hatchery passed their second disease test in September 1996. Mike Donofrio stocked 6,995 Gull Island strain and 7,466 Traverse Island strain lake trout out of the hatchery in 1996 to reduce the number of fish held at the facility. Once the brook trout and lake trout at the Keweenaw Bay facility are certified disease free, they will be moved to the Iron River National Fish Hatchery and serve as brood stock for Great Lakes stocking endeavors.

Agenda Item 23 - Time and place of the summer LSTC meeting

The next meeting of the LSTC will take place in Sault Ste. Marie, MI on August 12-14, 1997. Mark Ebener will make arrangements for the meeting.