Sunday, February 5, 2012

Operation-Conservation Brook Trout

Conservation of our natural landscapes/wildlife.  This is currently happening across the United States at a unprecedented level currently. It is wonderful to see concerned citizens of this great country taking care of the environment so that future generations can enjoy spending time in beautiful natural places.  Here in the Upper Peninsula we are truly blessed to be surrounded by such beauty everywhere you look.

One of the most beautifully wild creatures that calls the U.P. home is currently under siege, our native Brook Trout.  Yoopers have chased this believed icon of the icy streams with rod & reel for centuries.  Their creels have been full with these beautiful fish and they have provided great recreation for many.  Historically their population has flourished, as it still is this very day.  A short time ago regulations were passed to lower the daily creel limit from 10 Trout per day to 5 Trout.  This raised quite the stir as many complained about the DNR taking away their rights as anglers.  In reality what the DNR was doing was trying to conserve populations of wild fish in a day that natural habitat was being degraded by numerous factors.  I believe its been around 10 years since this limit reduction has been enacted, I can truthfully say that this has resulted in better overall Brook Trout fishing here in the U.P..

Well, now there is a push to get these regulations changed back to the old "10" per day limit.  This is exactly what this is "the old way", regulations are changed to meet the current needs of our Trout streams.  In all reality, its probably doesn't matter if the limit is 10 or 50 Trout; people are going to violate & keep more than their limit.  But this increase in limit is absolutely a step in the wrong direction.  Conservation of our native Brook Trout is paramount & our State of Michigan needs to strive to preserve this gem-not promote the taking of such a gross number of Trout.  I know of many rivers that if an angler was to keep 10 Brook Trout per day it would absolutely devastate the population.  This is not sound "science" to allow such an absurdly large number of Brook Trout in your creel.

The reason this whole debate/proposition is on the table is due to special interest groups lobbying our Natural Resource Commission members.  Namely our U.P. NRC Comminsioners & some U.P. sportsmans clubs aren't thinking in the best interest of the people of Michigan  These people believe this is a feasible change to our regulations, but it is not up to these people.  They are pushing for this change quite aggressively and this is currently on the fast track.  Seriously, this is thinking that would happen in like 1935, its embarrassing for the state of Michigan & proposals like this need to be scrutinized this day in age. It looks as if this could possibly be passed prior to April! It rests in the anglers of Michigan as a whole and the biologists of MI DNR. 

First off, people need to contact their Natural Resource Commission member.  It may be pointless to contact either of the NRC members from here in the U.P. as they are already promoting this increase.  But on the flipside the U.P. Commissioners may state that they didn't hear from any Yoopers against this prop, so it may be beneficial to contact them for this fact alone. Below are the members of the NRC & their contact info. Please contact the commissioners from lower Michigan, the U.P. Commissioners are the ones pushing for the issue to pass. Please call or email these people & let them know you oppose the new increase in Brook Trout limit. 

Conserving our wild Brook Trout population is of udder importance.

Here is the info for NRC Commissioners-Contact them ASAP!,4570,7-153-39002_11862-26986--,00.html

Every stream needs to be looked at on a case by case basis to determine the overall population of Brook Trout present, only then should new limits be enacted in my opinion. An overall general increase in limit on all rivers that do not have existing special regulations would be absolutely terrible.  The killing of 10 native Brook Trout is a complete waste of a natural resource and once they are gone there is no bringing them back.


  1. There is a lot of misinformation in this blog post.

    First, there will be a series of town hall meetings across the UP and the NLP where the DNR will gather your feedback on this issue. So nothing will be changed by April. At the soonest, changes would come in 2013.

    Second, the reason the DNR is holding the meetings is because this is a social issue, if there were any threat to the wild brook trout population based on biological science, the DNR would never be considering such a proposal.

    Call your local biologist and ask him/her for the scientific research and presentation that was put together for the Coldwater Committee by the DNR, then decide for yourself.

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  3. thanks for the comment Don. this blog is my opinion. it is not mis information. there are may threats to brook trout this day in age. mainly factors such as global warming & overall changes in the environment. i trust MI fisheries biologists to the utmost degree. they will make the right decision based upon their expertise. i am not a fisheries biologist, i am a an angler who spends a lot of time on the rivers. i literally just heard a non state employed fisheries biologist tell me this prop is a bad idea. we have done so much to protect brook trout that this is just going the wrong way. so much has been done to preserve our brook trout in Michigan, quality regs such as catch & release on many water sheds downstate & none up here? why does someone need to keep 10 brook trout? that is ridiculous & a waste. the average age of brook trout in the u.p. in streams is 1-3 years old. so yes, brook trout do not have a long life span. do we currently have an overabundance of brook trout here? will harvesting more brook trout make our fisheries better? if raising the limit will increase overall brook trout numbers or make a better overall fishing experience im all for it. is this the case? i urge everyone to go to these meetings & speak their mind if they are for or against this proposal. this should be interesting as both sides are polar opposites. there has to be some middle ground? i have also been told this could be passed as early as this April.

  4. Sounds like we share the same passion - Cold Water Fishing (trout) and more specifically - brook trout.

    My reaction to the proposed increase was similar to yours until I saw the science behind the bag limit that the DNR put together. It was eye-opening. I strongly encourage you to reach out to the DNR and see if you can get a copy of the presentation. I believe they would be happy to send it to you. I think you might be surprised.

    Also, conservation of our resources comes many times in the form of money at first. That money gets used for stocking, habitat improvements, public access, etc. Lots of guys buy fishing licenses, and contribute revenue to the conservation of our resource even though many of them have very different attitudes about fishing. I firmly believe we should be embracing all of our anglers and ensuring we preserve as many anglers as possible if for no other reason than to ensure there is funding to support and protect these resources.

    If there will be no harm to the resource, and the science I've seen shows there will not be any, and if it pleases some U.P. anglers to see the limit raised, I see no reason to oppose it.

    Final point, the DNR meetings on this subject will be scheduled this spring/early summer. The guides (rule book) for the coming season have already been finalized and are already being printed. There will be no changes to brook trout limits in 2012. The earliest would be 2013, pending the feedback the DNR receives at these meetings.

    Hope this helps clarify my point, good fishing!

  5. well, i dont no what else to tell you. i strongly oppose it. it is a terrible idea & it is even worse that MI DNR is promoting it through "science". c'mon, seriously? why do you need to keep 10 trout? if you love brook trout, you would never do that, for real! brook trout fishing is not meat fishing. go whack a walleye or a perch if you need something to fill your tummy. that is just catering to circa 1920's subsistence fishing. especially here in the u.p.. it is embarrassing as hell on the national scale to have our state doing studies if 10 brook trout in your day per creel will affect fish numbers. ill go keep 10 per day all summer out of one river-yeah, that wont effect trout numbers. BULLSHIT!

  6. Of course most brook trout die young. That is true of species that produce huge amounts of young, but don't "raise" them. I don't see how the biologists get from that to the idea that people killing 10 trout per day won't change the size structure.

  7. If most brookies only live three years, the people that kill 10 trout a day will be killing off the three year olds. They will likely take the largest ones they can catch, thus cropping off the biggest. It would seem that this will reduce the population from which the ones that do survive past three are drawn. Every year I catch brookies 11"-14". They must be more than 3 years old. Also, if they had been eaten at 10" they would have stopped growing. There is a trout stream in N. Wisconsin named the Prairie River. For a few years, there were special regs on 4 miles of its 40 miles. A few of the loud local meat fisherman complained that the regs were "anti-children." A study had shown that, under the regs, the number of brook trout had gone up by 300%, and the number of large brook trout by 100%. A question was posed to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress asking if the regs should be abolished. The answer was yes. Many think this is because the question was quite poorly posed - saying that the regs had no biological effect, only a social effect. The same unfortunate lingo that is being used by the Michigan DNR. Of course a change in size structure is a biological effect. It would have been clearer if they had said that getting rid of the regs would not cause the species to be extirpated. That is true, but must we aim so low. My impression is that there is a huge contingent in the northwoods that just can't bring themselves to believe that the world has changed since grandpa's time. Also, hating government rules has been popularized by a certain political segment in America. I imagine that if the biologists play into the thinking of that set, they have a friendlier time when they go out to eat. Personally, I'd rather release a bunch of brookies, including some big ones, than stuff a creel with 10 eight inchers.

  8. P.S. I am sincerely concerned about the quality of fishing. I would love to be proved wrong. If someone has a link to a scientific study, please post it! Thank you.