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Big male Atlantic. Turned the wrong corner
You're right, good I.D..

Basically, you can do a count of the BASE of the anal fin rays to rule-out a salmon (chinook: 15-17, Coho: 13-15), note the sharply pointed snout, which is generally a dead give-away for an atlantic salmon over a brown trout. Spots infrequent and widely dispersed above the lateral line is an atlantic characteristic, while a brown trout from the Great Lakes has more of them that are widely dispersed, with many resembling "X" marks, The flat upper jaw maxillary bone extends generally to the back edge of the orbit, or just barely past the orbit(eye socket) on an atlantic salmon, while it extends well past the orbit on a brown trout. There is also a line of small teeth, that are quite fine that radiate down the center of the roof of the mouth on an atlantic salmon, while brown trout have generally three abreast in this line of Vomerine teeth Kype at this time of year is also an atlanttic characteristic, becoming more pronounced through time. Browns have a thicker caudal peduncle and a less forked more rounded caudal fin on the top and bottom lobes.

Hope this helps folks in future ID efforts.
 

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Beautiful fish for sure. Big congrats. Perhaps it's time to scrap the Brown Trout program and go with Atlantic's. I would be just as happy to fish for those as opposed to browns. Just a thought.
Actually, this was something that the Great Lakes Fishery Commission supported, since they list Atlantic salmon as a Great Lakes endemic species, like lake trout, even though there is no evidence that they extended further "upstream" than Lake Ontario waters. The MDNR rearing program was initiated as an eventual replacement effort should chinook and coho stocks crash. Alewife, too, were noted in huge numbers in eastern Lake Ontario waters as early as the Civil War, yet they remain designated as an invasive species.
 

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So what you are saying is that there would be no credible evidence or reason that lake Michigan could not also support Atlantic's.
Lake/ Huron and Michigan has held atlantic salmon in it since the late-80s. Dan Brazo, MSU Great Lakes Lab field director had a boat pull-up next to them that requested a fish ID from fifty feet while out trolling with friends off Ludington. Dan said it looked a bit like a brown trout, but did not look right and suggested that they bring the fish to him once onshore. The fisherman sent it to U of M, where it was identified as an atlantic salmon, probably one of the first Lake State release fish to thrive and survive.
They have a more diverse annual diet than that documented by Chinook, which have a very high dependance on alewife, with some current evidence of reliance on bloater for forage. For whatever reason known only to the MDNR, they opted to not follow the rearing techniques established by LSSU's faculty/staff that has enabled them to successfully release around 11,000 fish per year into the St Marys since 1986. The MDNR's efforts have been sporadically successful in rearing atlantic salmon.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the Lake Michigan salmon open-water stock is composed of anywhere from 68-74% wild origin fish. Currently, there is a study running in concert with the steelhead otolith natal stream origins study attempting to determine both where and to what degree this wild stock reproduces and originates from, both in ALL US and Canadian tributaries of Huron and Michigan.
 
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