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I appreciate the discussion Jay. I’ve always believed that the poor returns comments have been due to creel census data simply not being recorded in the periods when browns are targeted by anglers. Perhaps you could share the creel census data? As I recall the cenus doesn’t even start until what? Memorial day?
 

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Jay, I’m networked enough, plus arrogant enough, to say that rumors have been that brown trout fishing this year; and this year only upticked for the first time in in the post inshore alewife collapse. The uptick did not occurr south of Muskegon.

The description “not like the old days, but some”, was the most frequent description. “Some decent fish too; but no big fish.” Was also used. As of a week or two ago or so the numbers were falling, but hopefully the bait push occurring up and down lately might pick it up again.

I’m always looking to increase the number of anglers. I never worrry about crowds of anglers. I fished when we really had crowds on the piers. I’m far more concerned about losing access to competing and non- compatable users of the inshore areas than i ever would be other anglers. Those contribute nothing to the fishery.
 

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Jay, has any thought at all been given to identifying a river (s), to build a Brown Trout wier; rather than a brood stock? Seems like could be one or two of the back up king streams, or even a novel river like the Dowagiac, White, or Lincoln could be a possible target?
 

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PS… on creel census Jay, Joe catches me likely 5-10 times a year now. Frankfort and Manistee were my primary ports from the dark ages until the mid 90’s. I was checked once by creel guys in that whole time. I still go up there several times a year. Zippo. Been checked at St. Joe and Whitehall several times as well. FWIW.
 

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Matt Kornis analyzed both salmonine food habits, stratified by location, season, percent diet composition, as well as percent ration composition. He then assessed dietary overlap by Salmonine species based on stable isotope analyzed food habits for salmonines.


These data broadly overlap with the brown trout plant and catch analysis trend data that Jay Wesley has posted in this thread.

The bottom-line trend that is evident is that fish forage (alewife, yellow perch, round goby, bloater DWS, Slimy sculpin0 confers proportionally more calories than invertebrate forage, seasonally and annually to Lake Michigan salmonines, with alewife remaining the most important component from a specie array analysis, with a general increase in round goby incidence and proportion contribution through time. Chinook salmon, brown trout, coho salmon, steelhead were highly dependent on alewife intake, while lake trout exhibited the broadest array of fish forage arrayed by species. Brown trout had high dietary overlap with all salmon, as well as steelhead trout, with slightly lower dietary overlap with lake trout.

When you compare caloric density of individual forage fish matched by size, alewife have roughly twice the caloric content for a length matched specimen when compared to round goby. As alewife distribution has declined numerically within the basin, numeric offset via round goby density increases have trended upward. Due to caloric density value differences, energy ration for those salmonines that have increased utilization of round goby as forage items has not offset energy intake declines from a shift away from alewife dominated foraging.

There is also some additional data on seasonal inshore movement of lake trout for the Lake Michigan basin that indicates that a higher proportion of the lake trout stock within the Lake Michigan basin moves into inshore waters in the spring on the east side when compared to inshore movement patterns exhibited by lake trout on the west side of the basin.

Slowed growth via diminished alewife ration intake, seasonally as well as annually through time, as well as diminished survival of brown trout in inshore waters of the eastern portion of the Lake Michigan basin has been the broad result.

The folks at the MDNR Charlevoix Research station have developed a small semi-submersible that can track a specific transect, enabling it to visually record round goby densities of substrates that cannot be sampled with traditional otter trawls or acoustic sampling techniques.
I do not doubt the validlity of the research, but….

Internationally Brown Trout have proven to be highly adaptable to a variety of habitates. What the research doesn’t show us, but should perhaps be a next step; is there a difference in preferred food in different strains of Brown Trout, and would it be possible to identify a strain with a lower overlap that might produce a higher rate of planting success.
 

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Problem with most biologists and scientific types is it doesn't matter what real world evidence shows. If it isn't in a book or there study it doesn't mean anything and it is false. Even though you can find a different study that shows opposite most of the time. Amazing the change in what's Michigan lake trout studies showed to begin and how much that's changed. 👌someone that is on the water 10 15 times a year may not have more than anecdotal. Others that are on the water 100 or 250 times plus or more probably have a pretty good idea what's going on. Most of the time more than anyone reading a study.
FBD’s observations, for the most part, seem to come from Sagatuck, Holland, Port Sheldon, and Whitehall. Mine are less frequent from a broader range, but consistently shallower, the academic studies are generally trawl net based in deeper water at varying depths. Regardless, all of the observations, all have some degree of bias and cannot account for all periodic local conditions, seasonal variation, or abnormal individual specimens or strains that maybe adapting to local conditions.

We are still always dealing with estimates…
 
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