Adult Lamprey Eels on the Huron River

Discussion in 'South East Michigan Streams and Rivers' started by Frank, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. Frank

    Frank

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    I saw a bunch of very big Lampreys up by the big dam in Flat Rock today (3-15-16) and was very surprised by it. I also caught one steelhead with a lamprey on it four days ago in Flat Rock. I left a phone message with the Fisheries Biologist who works this area and I hope to get some information back from him on how bad the problem really is on the Huron River. If they have no lamprey eel programs in place on the Huron River, maybe they should consider doing something soon before the steelhead fishery takes a hit from all those blood thirsty eels!!

    Frank
     
  2. Zofchak

    Zofchak

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    When the fishing was slow on the AuSable I used the sight fish for lamprey to pass the time. Run a good sized inline spinner over their back and pull em to shore. They're tough to kill, but up there we used to just leave on the shore for the coons and birds.
     

  3. Fishndude

    Fishndude

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    A buddy of mine has been down there 3 days this week. He has caught fish every day, and never mentioned seeing any Lampreys, or seeing Lamprey marks on any of his fish. I fileted a few of his fish, and they didn't have any Lamprey marks. The fish I cleaned were about 4# = 5#, and quite slender.

    I am skeptical that there are tons of Lampreys in the Huron at Flatrock. How big were the Lampreys that were spotted? Real big? How big? 24"? Bigger? Are you 100% sure you didn't see a bunch of Trout (Steelhead) that looked slim in the slightly murky water, and thought they were eels for some reason?
     
  4. Frank

    Frank

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    Fishndude,

    These were lampreys for sure. I grew up salmon fishing in Tawas and Oscoda and I've seen many lamprey eels in my lifetime. I watched 15 -20 adult lampreys about 24 - 30 inches long in the first sluice gate (by Kate's kitchen) for close to an hour. They were staying near the back where the water roils and foams up. Some were swimming around with their rasping mouths pointing up at me. All were quite black and very large. I also caught a steelhead four days previous up in that area with an eel on it. Also, I fish Lake Erie out of Erieau and Wheatley in the summer and we do catch a few steelhead every year with lamprey eels on them. I did let the DNR know about this and the District Biologist for Southeastern Michigan is going to try to get down there while they are spawning to capture a few. P.S. a local came up to me and said in the past he has seen a few in the back water up by the big dam. I do hope this isn't a bad sign of things to come.

    Frank
     
  5. HURONFLY

    HURONFLY

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    There have been lampreys spawning in the Huron for years. The population in lake Erie seems to be growing larger. DNR used to set a couple of lamprey traps below the spillway in Huroc Park but they have not done it the last few years.
     
  6. Fishndude

    Fishndude

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    Apologies for my skepticism. You obviously have a great understanding of what Sea Lamprey's look like.
     
  7. o_mykiss

    o_mykiss

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    although for the record, sea lamprey are not eels, they are fish
     
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  8. Frank

    Frank

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    Excellent point that the sea lamprey is actually a primitive "eel-like" fish. You and Fishndude got me interested in looking up more information on the sea lamprey. Here are some interesting facts that I found:

    Average lifespan of a sea lamprey is fourteen years.
    Females can lay 35,000 - 100,000 eggs.
    They got into Lake Erie when the Welland Canal was built to bypass Niagra Falls.
    The Lamprey is unchanged in 340 million years.
    The Lamprey is a parasitic fish native to the Atlantic Ocean.
    The Lamprey has survived four major extinction events on our planet.
    They can range in size from five to forty inches long.
    There are 38 known species of Lamprey.
    Only 18 species are actually parasitic.
    Adults physically resemble eels.

    The bottom line is the Sea Lamprey is one tough critter that knows how to survive and can really cause a problem if left unchecked. I hope the DNR takes a closer look at the Huron River because adult Sea Lampreys seem to like the Huron River for spawning.

    Frank
     
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  9. junkman

    junkman

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    The DNR use to trap them on the huron.I don't know why they quit.But I use to see the trap down there in the spring.
     
  10. junkman

    junkman

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    And there are two lamprey's that are native to Michigan.
     
  11. wildling41

    wildling41

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    I don't care if they are a fish or an eel, they are one ugly creature. When I was a kid in the 70's we used to shoot them with our bows while out carp shooting in Brest Bay in lake Erie.
     
  12. Frank

    Frank

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    Junkman,
    Thanks for contributing to this post on Lampreys We are all learning a lot more about Lampreys now. I did find out another interesting fact that I didn't know about native Lampreys in Michigan. According to the "Fish of Michigan" book by Dave Bosanko, there are four Lampreys native to Michigan. The Silver and Chestnut Lampreys are parasitic on fish in the adult form. The Northern and American Brook Lampreys are non-parasitic and do not feed as adults. The author says Native Lampreys have very little impact on native fish populations.
    Very interesting stuff. I think people on this site have reported catching the Silver and Chestnut ones in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair while fishing for musky and walleye.

    Frank
     
  13. junkman

    junkman

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    Thank you I only knew of the two.the chestnut and the brook lamprey.I like to learn new and interesting facts.
     
  14. eucman

    eucman

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  15. frenchriver1

    frenchriver1 Mr. Flatfish Premium Member

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