Where in the World are Carmen Sandiego and Her Fishy Friends;
the Lake Trout, Lake Sturgeon, Chinook Salmon and Asian Carp
BY MARK HOLEY, GREEN BAY FWCO
To figure out where stocked and invasive species migrate and live in the Lake Michigan and beyond, sleuthhounds from the Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) combine the latest advancements in fisheries technology to detect and identify fish and coordinated sampling activities with our partner state and tribal fishery investigators.
Lake Trout and Chinook Salmon: The Green Bay FWCO has tagged all lake trout and Chinook salmon stocked into lakes Michigan and Huron since 2011, about ten million fish annually. High tech automated tagging trailers tag about six inch fish at state and federal hatcheries before they are stocked. A very small wire tag that bears a batch tag number is inserted in the cartilage of the fish’s snout and the adipose fin is clipped. The clipped fin allows anglers and fisheries professionals which fish they catch have a tag.
Green Bay FWCO field staff also samples the catch of anglers in lakes Michigan and Huron. Angler samples allow fishery managers to determine how the stocked lake trout and Chinook salmon distribute around the lake and which stocking sites contribute to the angler catch – important information required by fishery agencies to manage the fishery.
Lake Sturgeon: The Green Bay FWCO, Michigan DNR, Wisconsin DNR, and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians all rear lake sturgeon in trailers converted to hatcheries to rear and imprint sturgeon to the river water where they will be stocked. The goal is to have these young sturgeons to return to these rivers when they mature and spawn. Since 2009, 3000-5000 lake sturgeon have been released into Lake Michigan from the six rearing trailers around the lake. Each sturgeon stocked receives a tag with a unique number or fin clip to allow fishery experts identify each individual fish as long as they live. Coordinated sampling efforts among the Lake Michigan fishery agencies in 2013 recovered a number of tagged sturgeon indicating the streamside rearing is working to restore lake sturgeon in Lake Michigan.
Asian Carp: To implement the Asian Carp Framework, in 2013, the Green Bay FWCO conducted its first lake wide collection of water samples to test for the presence of Asian carp eDNA (environmental DNA). A total of 968 samples were collected from 10 Lake Michigan tributaries or harbors. Water samples are filtered and prepared for the lab tests to identify if Asian carp DNA. If a sample tests positive for eDNA, additional samples will be taken and sampling to catch live fish initiated. No live Asian carp have been captured in Lake Michigan.