MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has completed the final draft of its long-term fisheries management plan for Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters and invites citizens to provide final input. Lake Michigan has seen drastic ecological changes in recent years and the new plan will guide fisheries management through the next 10 years.
"We listened to what the public said during public input sessions and incorporated this feedback along with our own thoughts into the draft 10-year plan," said Brad Eggold, DNR Great Lakes district fisheries supervisor. "Now, it's time to see whether we are on track with the expectations and desires of the public."
DNR manages Lake Michigan fisheries in partnership with other state, federal and tribal agencies and in consultation with the public, particularly sport and commercial fishers. The draft 2017-2026 Lake Michigan Integrated Fisheries Management Plan focuses on five areas:
"Over the last 10 years, we've made good progress and accomplished much of what we set out to do based on the previous plan," Eggold said. "We've managed chinook salmon populations to fuel a decade of fantastic fishing while enhancing walleye and northern pike habitat in the Milwaukee and Menominee rivers as well as Green Bay. Supplies of trout and salmon for stocking have been enhanced following renovation of the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery while sturgeon and musky stocking also has been improved."
However, there are still challenges to address including the ecological changes in Lake Michigan due to the proliferation of aquatic invasive species, diminished forage base and the need to upgrade and maintain the department's fish production system.
"Given the challenges and opportunities before us, input from anglers and others is critical in developing a plan that keeps Lake Michigan healthy and reflects the interests of sport and commercial anglers," Eggold said.
People who are interested in commenting can find the draft plan and summary information on the DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for "Lake Michigan Plan." Written comments can be sent to DNRLAKEMICHIGANPLAN@wisconsin.gov or mailed to: Brad Eggold, Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Water Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204. The deadline for comments is May 20, 2017.