Again this spring, the Department of Natural Resources will collect eggs from spotted muskellunge in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair to be raised at its Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery.
The practice of collecting spotted muskellunge eggs, instead of northern muskellunge eggs, was started last year in an effort to raise a type of muskie that is native to more of Michigan’s waters. Last year 174,000 eggs were collected from the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair and producing nearly 7,000 fall fingerlings (for three inland lakes in Michigan, two of which will serve as broodstock lakes for egg collections in the future) and 3,000 4-inch fish (for Wisconsin that were targeted for Green Bay through a cooperative interstate arrangement).
“Collection efforts in Southeast Michigan last spring were hampered by poor weather conditions,” said Martha Wolgamood, manager of the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. “If we have limited success collecting Great Lakes spotted muskellunge eggs this spring, we will request northern muskies from other states.”
To collect the eggs, trap nets are used in Anchor Bay in Lake St. Clair during late April and May and fish are captured with electro-fishing gear in the Detroit River in May. Collecting spotted muskellunge eggs is difficult in these areas because of the physical conditions associated with open waters, especially during that time of year.
As a safety issue and a precaution, boats on the water should avoid coming close to the electro-fishing boat during nighttime efforts.
“When the generator is running and the boat’s lights are on, we are collecting fish using electricity near the boat,” said Todd Somers, fisheries technician supervisor for the Lake Erie Management Unit.
To learn more about fishing in Michigan and the spotted muskellunge management effort, go to www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on “Angler Information” and then “Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them.”