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Large Lakes Program

Michigan has 92 inland lakes that are 1,000 acres or larger. Each provides significant fishing and other recreational opportunities. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division started a program in January 2001 to better describe the fisheries in these waters. The Large Lakes program is a statewide program designed to improve assessment and monitoring of fish communities and fisheries in Michigan's largest inland lakes.

The Large Lakes Program has three primary objectives:

  • Produce consistent indices of abundance and estimates of annual harvest and fishing effort for important fishes. Our hope is to produce statistics for important fishes to help detect major changes in their populations over time.
  • Produce abundance estimates and sufficient growth and mortality statistics to be able to evaluate effects of fishing on special-interest species which support valuable fisheries. This involves targeting special-interest species with nets or other gears to collect, sample, and mark sufficient numbers. Generally, these species are walleyes Sander vitreus, northern pike Esox lucius, muskellunge Esox masquinongy and smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu.
  • Evaluate the suitability of various statistical estimators for use in large lakes. For example, we are applying and comparing three types of abundance and three types of exploitation rate estimators. The Large Lakes Program will maintain consistent sampling methods over lakes and time. This will allow us to build a body of fish population and harvest statistics for direct evaluation of differences between lakes or changes within a lake over time.

The purpose of this web site is to help coordinate the project by posting plans for future work, status of on-going work, and results of completed work. This information is organized by lake for past or on-going work, and by year for future work.

Houghton Lake
Burt Lake
Crooked and Pickerel Lakes
Michigamme Reservoir
Muskegon Lake
Lake Leelanau
Cisco Chain of Lakes
South Manistique Lake
Big Manistique Lake
North Manistique Lake
Bond Falls Flowage
Grand Lake
Long Lake
Peavy Pond
Black Lake
Lake Gogebic
Lake Charlevoix
Lake Michigamme
Portage and Torch Lakes
Elk and Skegemog Lakes
Mullett Lake
Indian Lake




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