release writes "This report just in from Jim Francis at the DNR our local fisheries advocate.
Greeting river enthusiasts,
I have some good news I wanted to share on this cold (that may be the understatement of the day) winter day. We (MDNR-Fisheries) have been able to direct more steelhead to the Clinton River, beginning this year. I regularly get questions on why the Clinton River gets so few fish given the amount of fishing effort it gets. Basically, our hatcheries are at full capacity for steelhead, so the only way to get more steelhead in one river is to take them from another. As you can imagine, that is a very difficult task. In Southeast Michigan, we have 4 rivers that get stocked annually with steelhead; Huron River (60,000), Clinton River (15,000), Mill Creek (15,000), and Belle River (12,000). The Huron River got a big increase in stocking when the fish ladder over the Flat Rock Dam was completed, opening up steelhead fishing all the way to the Belleville Dam. This stocking is fixed. That leaves Mill Creek and Belle River.
We always questioned whether the Mill Creek and Belle River stockings were the best use of a limited resource, because we got very few reports from anglers using these rivers. This contrasts to the extensive use we know we get on the Clinton. A few years ago we did a creel survey on Mill Creek and Belle River to evaluate the use of these rivers during the steelhead run. The results confirmed our suspicion that very few people are using these fisheries. Therefore, we are going to cannibalize some of the steelhead from these rivers to add to the Clinton River stocking. Beginning this spring, the Clinton River will get 25,000 steelhead, and Mill Creek will be reduced to 10,000 steelhead and Belle River to 7,000. The bottom line is a 40% increase in steelhead stocking on the Clinton River beginning this year.
I know I have talked to some anglers who have this spring highlighted on their calendars. Remember that in spring 2003 we were able to stock a total of 30,000 (double the regular number) steelhead. This is the first spring that we expect to see these fish returning. That may warm you up a little, anticipating this springs fishery.
Finally, we are going to be conducting a creel survey on the Clinton River this March/April. I hope that everyone that is contacted to participate in the survey will assist us. The better data we have to document the use of the fishery, the more likely we will be successful in support for the river.
If you have questions please drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Visit the Michigan DNR