The Department of Natural Resources has announced the Platte River spawning closure will return to its historic timeframe of January 1 through March 31, in 2013. In 2012 the closure was extended through April 28 to assist in the DNR’s efforts in protecting returning steelhead. This closure affects the Platte River from the Platte River State Fish Hatchery down to Platte Lake.

In addition, no fishing will be allowed within 300 feet of the upper hatchery weir whenever the weir is in place (which was August 15 through September 30 in 2012). This closure provides enhanced protection of migrating coho salmon, many of which are used as broodstock for hatchery operations.

A spawning closure is put into place to protect key stretches of river where high-levels of natural reproduction are known to occur or where broodstock fish can potentially be collected. All fishing is prohibited during a closure.

These spawning closures will go into effect on January 1, 2013 and will read as follows in next year’s fishing guide: “The Platte River is closed to fishing from the US-31 bridge at Veteran’s Park downstream to Platte Lake, January 1 – March 31” and “The Platte River is closed to fishing within 300 feet of the Upper (hatchery) weir infrastructure, whenever the weir is in place.”

Since 2010, DNR’s Fisheries Division has been annually stocking the Platte River with 20,000 yearling steelhead. This stocking program is anticipated to increase the steelhead population to a level that could support a back-up egg take facility at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery and thus enhance angling opportunities on the Platte River.

“Moving the date of spawning closure last spring offered a good level of protection for the first group of steelhead that returned to the river following our stocking efforts,” said Heather Hettinger, DNR fisheries biologist for the Platte River. “Now that we have had a chance to see our efforts are beginning to work, we feel confident we can restore angling opportunities and protect these fish at the same time.”

For more information, please review Fisheries Order 204 at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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