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Michigan changes lake trout regulations

December 18, 2010 at 12:30 AM

The state of Michigan’s lake trout regulations will change in 2011, and again in 2012. According to Indiana DNR fisheries biologist Brian Breidert for the Hoosier portion of Lake Michigan, Indiana anglers could benefit by both changes.

In 2011, the state of Michigan’s lake trout season will open April 1 and end Oct. 31. In recent previous years, it opened May 1 and ended Sept. 30.

In 2012, the state of Michigan’s lake trout season will open Jan. 1 and close Oct. 31.

Indiana does not have a closed season on lake trout.

According to Breidert, as water temperatures warm each spring in Lake Michigan, Hoosier anglers have fantastic fishing opportunities for trout and salmon.

Breidert said that although Indiana has no closed season on lake trout, Hoosier anglers do not typically catch them in large numbers in Indiana waters. The reason is that lake trout are a long-lived species usually found in depths greater than 60 feet. Those waters are primarily outside of Indiana’s boundaries of Lake Michigan.

Michigan’s regulation change should increase the harvest of lake trout coming back to Indiana ports in the spring.

Michigan’s change also will simplify regulations for Hoosiers on one front but possibly create confusion on another. Indiana has a daily bag limit of five trout and salmon of which no more than two can be lake trout greater than 14 inches; Michigan has the same five-trout-and-salmon catch aggregate while no more than three may be lake trout, brown trout or steelhead trout with a size limit of 20 inches for lake trout.

“Increasing the fishing season could certainly show some increase in lake trout harvest, especially in the spring,” Breidert said. “For anglers fishing in April, I am sure many will see this as a positive move.”

Indiana anglers often fish within Michigan waters. In previous years they were required to release any lake trout they caught. Now they will be able to be included as part of the catch.

“As a result, we may see fewer salmon brought back to Indiana during the spring fishing season,” Breidert said. “The spring catch will be monitored during our annual creel program through which we analyze the long-term catch and harvest coming back to Indiana ports on southern Lake Michigan.

“Undoubtedly, we will see changes in our spring catch composition as a result of this change by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.”

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