The Department of Natural Resources has approved five stream segments in the Upper Peninsula for an increase in the daily possession limit for brook trout from five to 10 fish. The rule becomes effective April 1, 2013.
This limited experimental regulation is in response to requests from anglers to increase the daily possession limit on brook trout across the Upper Peninsula.
For selected stream segments, the daily possession limit for brook trout would be 10 fish and the minimum size limit would be 7 inches. Streams were selected from existing Type 1 streams which have a daily possession limit of five fish and a 7-inch minimum size limit.
Stream segments and their tributaries include: Dead River (Marquette County), Driggs River (Schoolcraft County), East Branch Ontonagon River (Houghton and Iron counties), East Branch Tahquamenon River (Chippewa County) and East Branch Huron River (Baraga and Marquette counties).
In October the DNR proposed a new Type 5 stream category at the Natural Resources Commission meeting, with 10 streams to be included. Angler input resulted in a reduction of the number of streams proposed from 10 down to five and the removal of the Type 5 category, substituting instead the experimental regulations category. In addition, the DNR has committed to evaluations that will begin next year.
Streams selected for this regulation will constitute 3 percent of the current Type 1 stream mileage available in the Upper Peninsula. During the next several years, Fisheries Division will work with a variety of partners to assess the biological effects of the possession limit increase on the brook trout populations in the experimental regulations category streams.
The stream segments are not accessible to brook trout from the Great Lakes. In recent years, rehabilitation of lake-run brook trout populations has attracted considerable interest among resource agencies, conservation groups and anglers, and a variety of measures have been taken to protect these populations. These “coaster” brook trout are a life history variant and are not a genetically distinct strain or sub-species. The DNR has also proposed future work in this area of brook trout management.
Maps and written descriptions of the upstream (where applicable) and downstream boundaries for the experimental trout regulations are available at www.michigan.gov/fishing.