Chinook salmon on the rise

Chinook salmon on the rise

MARQUETTE — According to the DNR, Michigan’s Lake Superior Chinook Salmon fishery is being fueled almost entirely from natural reproduction.

Chinook and Coho Salmon were introduced to the great lakes as opposed to lake trout which were here naturally. As production has continued throughout the years, the DNR has used hatchery stock to produce those populations. Now it’s reached its highest level of natural reproduction.

“Now the level of fish that are being produced naturally in the lake has been increasing over the past few years,” said DNR Deputy Public Information Officer John Pepin, “and now it’s to the point where it’s about 99% of the Chinook are produced naturally.”

All 1.5 million Chinook salmon stocked in the lake received adipose fin clips in order to later determine whether the fish were wild or of hatchery origin. Of the 3,000 Chinook salmon caught yearly by sport anglers, almost every single one was produced naturally. Pepin added a 99% natural reproduction rate is something to celebrate, and allows for more money to be spent on other endeavors.