I enjoy keeping up on the ever changing Great Lakes fisheries. To me, the Stakeholders on Lake Michigan have things right. They listen to the fisheries managers and have come up with indicators regarding when to stock more fish and when to cutback. Here's the page with the plan:
It's based on science. The weight of an age 3 salmon determines how the stocking plan will proceed. Michigan's DNR also has its FAQ list:
Makes a lot of sense to me! There's a lot of panic going on around Lake Michigan right now. This quote is from an article on Mlive.com:
Members of the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association contend a collapse is nearing - potentially within the next two years - and they’re urging the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to act now.
They normally have around 7 to 9 classes (or something like that) of alewives and were down to 2 last year. Now we just had one of the harshest winters on record. That doesn't bode well for alewives.
I find it interesting, that according to the NYDEC website's fishing hotline, on Lake Ontario lake trout are being caught shallow by anglers targeting spring browns and cohos. In alewife driven fisheries, I've rarely ever seen lake trout move shallow unless they don't have enough food in their comfort zone out in deeper water. We saw a lot of that in Seneca Lake in the early 2000s, when alewife numbers were very low. It will be an interesting year on the big lake and I think we'll be able to jig Kings, Browns and Lakers with a high level of success. This is going to be the "make or break year" for salmon/trout fishing as we've known it (in the past) on Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan.