Chinook Salmon Egg Take, Little Manistee River

Discussion in 'North West Michigan Streams and Rivers' started by M. Tonello, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. M. Tonello

    M. Tonello

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    Apparently we got a good push of salmon at the Little Manistee Weir late last week, so tomorrow will be the first day of egg take. If all goes well, we'll do it again on Wednesday. Unfortunately we due to the virus we cannot allow visitors into the facility this year, but I'll try to post updates here.
     
  2. Northriver Rabbit

    Northriver Rabbit

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  3. Fishndude

    Fishndude

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    Thanks for making it happen, Mark. You, and the whole crew.
     
  4. riverman

    riverman

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    Have to say I didn’t see this push coming this year. A couple of cold water jewels proved me wrong. Have a great egg take
     
  5. M. Tonello

    M. Tonello

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    We did have a great egg take today! It went very well. The fish looked great and were very ripe. We harvested 558 Chinooks today, taking eggs from 218 pairs. We also passed 19 steelhead, 4 brown trout, and 58 coho salmon. It is amazing how different these runs are from year to year. I've been doing this over 20 years, and the salmon never fail to amaze me. This is one of the earliest egg takes we've ever done, and most of these fish weren't here a week ago. They basically showed up ripe and ready to go. Biggest Chinook today was 25.3 lbs.
     
  6. M. Tonello

    M. Tonello

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    Day 2 of egg take went even better. We spawned 279 pairs, and harvested 662 total Chinooks. Biggest Chinook was 27+ lbs (can't remember exactly). We also passed 30 steelhead (biggest was over 17 lbs), 5 brown trout (biggest was 11.1 lbs), and 71 coho salmon (biggest was something like 10.4 lbs). We're now done taking eggs for this week, which is good because my arms need a break! We hope to be back at it next Wednesday. Likely one more good day will do it.
     
  7. salmon_slayer06

    salmon_slayer06

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    do you have any insight to the may/June kings that frequent this river? are these just fish chasing water temps and wind up here or are they actually in there to spawn?
     
  8. riverman

    riverman

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    Any break down on natural and clipped fish? Do you take eggs and sperm from both?
     
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  9. M. Tonello

    M. Tonello

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    Slayer06- you can read my Little M report here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/2005-8_Little-Manistee_River_144067_7.pdf

    Or if you don't have all day, here's what I specifically wrote about the summer Chinook run:
    "The Little Manistee River summer Chinook salmon run seems to be a relatively new phenomenon. In recent years, large numbers of Chinook salmon have ascended the Little Manistee River all summer long, starting in early June. The size of the run hasn't been estimated because the weir is not in operation during the summer, but it likely numbers in the thousands. Angler reports from those fishing during the summer run have been extremely positive (J. Thomas and M. Galus, MDNR Fisheries Division, personal communication), and the consensus among anglers and biologists is that the run continues to build each year. Although it has not been extensively studied, biologists hypothesize that the summer Chinook salmon run is likely a response to the weir operation and that adult wild Chinook salmon are now entering the river earlier than their hatchery counterparts in an attempt to access the river (before the weir is put into operation on August 15th) to reproduce. This phenomenon is possible because of the water temperatures found in the Little Manistee River, which are cold enough to sustain the adult Chinook salmon until they spawn in the fall."

    This report was from 2005. Obviously overall Chinook numbers are lower now, but I believe the concept remains the same. I believe that the weir operation forced an adaptation among the wild Chinook population. If a salmon shows up at the weir before Aug 15, they can run upstream and eventually spawn. The river remains cold all summer, so survival isn't a big problem. But if they show up after August 15, then they are typically harvested.

    Hope that helps explain it. Pretty fascinating stuff for a fish nerd like myself.
     
  10. M. Tonello

    M. Tonello

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    Riverman- yes we take eggs from both. So far this year's run has been very heavy to clipped fish. In particular we have a lot of jack males this year, indicating good survival from the 2019 stocking effort. Which is very encouraging! We suspect that we'll see more of the wild fish run a little later in the season, but that remains to be seen.
     
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  11. -Axiom-

    -Axiom- Premium Member

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    These salmon that are in the river for 2 or 3 months, what are they eating?
     
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  12. lostontheice

    lostontheice

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    Well,I'll admit I was wrong.. Earlier this year,I posted that there wouldn't be a take,but the Fish would still be sold to the cannery.. I'm glad to be wrong on this topic,and more then happy to hear the coho are being passed and not put to cat food.. Great job Mark..
     
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  13. M. Tonello

    M. Tonello

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    They don't eat during the time they're in the river. This is similar to rivers out west where there are spring runs of Chinooks. Often those fish have to go a long way to reach their spawning gravel, and they don't eat during that long journey either. Basically the LM summer kings just hang out until spawning time.
     
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  14. Ojh

    Ojh

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    Mark, was the fish count down this year? It seemed so on the Manistee. My records say the count 4 years ago was down even greater than this year.
    can you confirm?
    Thanks, Oj
     
  15. Fishndude

    Fishndude

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    I fished Swan Bay @ lake Huron last weekend. Salmon were hard to come by, as they were all up in Swan Creek by Saturday. But there were a TON of Kings up in that creek. I am sure the DNR will get all the eggs they can possibly use for hatchery purposes.
     
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