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.

Sonar mapping shipwrecks now hunt trout habitat

Capital News Service
LANSING – Maritime archaeologists are swapping shipwreck surveys for lake trout mapping in Lake Huron. And they’re using sound waves to do it. “Consider it double-dipping. The sonar on research vessels could map an area of interest for shipwrecks while also helping out some biologists,” said Russ Green, program coordinator at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. The biologists say they want to use the results in lake-wide rehabilitation of trout habitat.

Projects protect U.P.'s coaster brook trout

Capital News Service
LANSING – Removing sand from the Salmon Trout River in Marquette County has helped protect the spawning sites of coaster brook trout, according to researchers. A sand collector was installed upstream last spring to intercept sediment before it reached the endangered trout’s spawning habitat, according to a report from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Marquette Fisheries Research Station. The machine pumps sand out of the river, preventing it from covering stream-bottom rocks where the majority of coasters spawn. The Salmon Trout River is the last Lake Superior tributary with a natural breeding population of the species, said Casey Huckins, the project leader and professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University. “They were once common throughout Lake Superior basin tributaries and nearshore waters, but the populations were wiped out due to over-fishing and habitat degradation,” Huckins said on the project’s fundraising website.

Brook trout brouhaha brews in the U.P.

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.