Ban on baiting trout with chum stirs controversy

By MARIE ORTTENBURGER
Capital News Service

LANSING — Many anglers and guides are unhappy about the Natural Resources Commission’s new ban on scattering fish parts and eggs to lure fish on trout streams.
“It kind of drives me nuts,” said Chad Betts, owner of Betts Guide Service and Outfitters in Newaygo. Known as chumming, the practice has long been controversial. Critics say it can cause disease and that it’s an unfair way to catch more fish. But some anglers don’t think those are reasons enough to categorically ban the practice on trout streams, as the commission did in July. They argue that the ban will deal a blow to Michigan’s fishing tourism economy.

Anglers enlisted in water fight

By COLLEEN OTTE
Capital News Service
LANSING — Alert anglers are to the Great Lakes what the military is to the United States: the last line of defense against invaders. “Anglers are kind of the eyes and ears on the water for us,” said Seth Herbst, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Division. A recent study by researchers at Cornell University found that anglers in the Great Lakes region are aware of and concerned about the threat of aquatic invasive species. Already such invaders have significantly altered the ecological makeup of the Great Lakes. In the 1950s and 1980s, populations of alewife, a herring species, peaked in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Cold weather anglers flock to thick ice; effects of ice on fish mixed

By DARCIE MORAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — In a few years, Michigan anglers might have the polar vortex to thank for good hauls. But in a few months, they might have it to blame for particularly disappointing catches. Fish experts are keeping a close eye on how winter conditions progress, a clue to how fish populations in the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland lakes will fare. The recent cold and resulting ice might give some fish eggs a better chance of survival, Michael Hoff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish biologist, said. But other fish could die in droves due to lack of oxygen mixed with other stressors.

New study questions river sand trap strategy

By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Researchers based in Marquette have potentially grave news for Michigan anglers: Hundreds of shallow basins dug into riverbeds to collect trout- and salmon-harming sediment might be more like fish coffins than protectors. After two reportedly successful experiments in the 1980s, sand traps were constructed worldwide in an attempt to save fish populations hurt by excessive sand in freshwater streams. Michigan has more than 250. But now, researchers from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) say they doubt whether these measures have had any benefit. In some cases, sand traps could even harm river ecosystems, experts say. Popular species like salmon and brook trout need coarse riverbeds of gravel or small pebbles.

Brook trout brouhaha brews in the U.P.

By SAODAT ASANOVA-TAYLOR
Capital News Service
LANSING – Brook trout experts have asked the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to put on hold a proposal to double the brook trout creel limit in 10 streams in the Upper Peninsula. They claim the proposal carries a political agenda and lacks scientific data, potentially threatening the overall brook trout habitat. The agency’s proposal would allow anglers to take 10 fish per day per person. The current limit has existed for more than a decade. The daily possession limit would be 10 fish and the minimum size would be 7 inches.