Characteristics of Harvested and Released Lake Trout in Charter Boat Fisheries of Northern Lake Michigan
Blematl, Alex D.
MetadataShow full item record
Lake trout are a popular fish for recreational fishing and well known for diet as well. These together, have generated a large industry surrounding the fish. Recently, it was found that there is a 40% mortality rate of hooked lake trout in the Great Lakes. Fisheries officials feared that this elevated rate from the previously presumed 15% may interfere with the state’s Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit for lake trout. In this study, Salvelinus namaycush were collected through hooking method, aboard charter fishing boats in the MM-3, MM-4, and MM-5 stat district regions of Northern Lake Michigan. This study was conducted to find if there was differences in weight between harvested and released lake trout; Additionally, I explored how weights of the lake trout compare to years in the past. I found no significant difference in weight between lake trout that are harvested, and lake trout that are released. This is beneficial, due to the fact that anglers are not releasing small fish to fill their two fish quota with larger fish, resulting in fewer lake trout being released to reach the two fish quota. The study also determined that stat districts 3 and 5 contained significantly larger fish than stat district 4. This effect in MM-4 could be the result of the current alewife population collapse and a low forage base. Results of this study may lead to the possibility of a slot limit change from the current two fish limit between the lengths of 15 to 27 inches (with one fish allowed to be larger than 34 inches) to a two fish limit any size greater than 17 inches.