Mich. cuts Lake Michigan Chinook stocking by 2/3

Half the game fish now in the lake are from natural reproduction

Lake Michigan’s Chinook salmon are doing so well that Michigan has decided to sharply reduce its stocking of the popular game fish.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that it will cut its annual Chinook stocking in the lake by two-thirds, from 1.67 million to 560,000. The change begins in spring 2013.

The decision implements last month’s recommendation from the Lake Michigan Committee that states reduce stocking by half, from 3.3 million to 1.7 million annually. Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin and Indian tribes are represented on the committee.

Naturalists say overstocking of predator fish threatens the population of other lake species and upsets the ecological balance. Half the Chinook in the lake now are the result of natural reproduction.