Lake bottoms, visible from space, may hint at trout comeback

Capital News Service
LANSING — It might seem counterintuitive, but when trying to examine the bottom of Lake Huron, researchers discovered it is helpful to take a look from space. Satellite imagery offers a new tool for identifying nearshore habitats where lake trout spawn across broad areas of the Great Lakes, according to a recent study in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Researchers have been using satellite imagery to look at how the distribution of lake-floor algae in the Great Lakes is changing, said Amanda Grimm, lead author of the study and an assistant research scientist at the Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor. While studying lake trout rehabilitation in the Drummond Island Refuge in northern Lake Huron, U.S. Geological Survey researchers noticed that the stony reefs, where they found lake trout laying eggs, were cleaner of algae than surrounding areas, Grimm said. They realized the difference might be seen from satellite, which would help find good lake trout spawning grounds.

Salmon face spawning season challenges

Capital News Service
LANSING – Every fall, thousands of chinook and coho salmon return to northern Michigan rivers to spawn, counted at state collection sites in Manistee County and Traverse City. But this year’s fishing season has its own set of challenges – a balancing act between weather and food supply has gone off-kilter – with fewer salmon as a consequence. “From what we’re seeing, it’s looking like a pretty low year,” said Edward Eisch, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acting fish production manager. Salmon fishing has been part of a 50-year saga since Pacific salmon were introduced to Lake Michigan in the mid-1960s. To alleviate the environmental impacts of exotic and invasive fish in the Great Lakes, fisheries increased the number of Pacific salmon that would feed on rainbow smelt and alewives, according to Randy Claramunt, a DNR fisheries research biologist based in Charlevoix.