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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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Seems like I remember many years ago they were protected species at least on the west side rivers. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but seems like I remember seeing a sign at the boat launch by Scottsville that had pics of an Atlantic and a King that read "know the difference" "or receive a fine".
Maybe it was just on the PM. IDK. Could be I'm getting old and not remembering right. It was a long time ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Seems like I remember many years ago they were protected species at least on the west side rivers. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but seems like I remember seeing a sign at the boat launch by Scottsville that had pics of an Atlantic and a King that read "know the difference" "or receive a fine".
Maybe it was just on the PM. IDK. Could be I'm getting old and not remembering right. It was a long time ago.
In Lake Michigan, three can be kept; but I don’t think anyone is in jeopardy of getting pinched for being over limit.
 
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