Fishing in the area near the new sea lamprey barrier that was completed earlier this year on Trail Creek in Michigan City has been prohibited by the DNR by emergency rule.

The purpose is to protect migrating trout and salmon.

The rule, which took effect today, prohibits the taking or possession of fish within 100 feet upstream of the barrier and from the barrier downstream to the Pottawatomie Country Club Golf Course property line, which is located adjacent to Springland Avenue in Michigan City.

The rule was needed because as migrating fish approach the barrier, a concentrated number of them develops. Some fish jump over the barrier, and others are directed into a trap. This makes the fish particularly vulnerable to illegal snagging and other means of poaching.

So far this season, DNR biologists have trapped and transferred 2,000 trout and salmon over the barrier. Countless others have jumped the barrier on their own.

The barrier was installed to block upstream migrations of the parasitic sea lamprey as the species returns to Trail Creek to spawn. Each adult lamprey can kill about 40 pounds of fish in Lake Michigan during its lifetime. Before the barrier was installed, repeated chemical treatments were needed to control the lampreys. The barrier eliminated the need for such treatments.

Construction of the barrier was a cooperative project involving the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the DNR.

The emergency rule can remain in effect for up to one year. In the meantime, the DNR will seek to include the closed area in a permanent rule change.

Logo courtesy Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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  • greenfish

    The last 2 years of fishing Trail Creek has been the worst ever. I sit and watch all the trout and salmon come to this point in the river and only a few of the fish are able to clear this dam. If you sit and watch most of the fish bash there bodies into the steel. The only thing this is a barrier to is the fish and sportsmen not catching fish.
    I noticed over on the Paw Paw River in Michigan the state has remove fish barriers like dams.
    I want to thank the DNR for messing up one of the last good fisheries going in this state while trying to convince everyone what great things they are doing. They waste so much money on stocking the St. Joe with very little returning fish to Indiana and now this. All the public land upstream from this barrier is a waste. The sad thing is people like me that once went to the area 6 plus times a year to enjoy the area with there families will no longer go. In the past the DNR has messed up all the camping areas so that a family can no longer budget camp outings. Put spring stream trout stockings from great streams into lakes plus many other “great” ideas and now this. The DNR is very full of its self. I just wonder what great things they will mess up next.