Proposed brook trout regulation change in Upper Peninsula

List of streams impacted by proposed Upper Peninsula brook trout regulation change.

The Department of Natural Resources is proposing an increase to the brook trout possession limit on select Upper Peninsula stream sections starting in April 2018.

The brook trout daily possession limit has been set at five (5) for the past 17 years. During that time, many requests were received from anglers wanting to keep more fish. Sparked by these requests and with interest from the Natural Resources Commission and input from the DNR's Coldwater Regulations Steering Committee, department fisheries staff investigated social and biological aspects of increasing the brook trout possession limit from five to 10 on a subset of Upper Peninsula streams.

From 2011 to 2017, public opinions were obtained through numerous public meetings; various surveys (internet, postcard, creel); consultations with sport clubs and other governing agencies; and from public e-mails, letters and phone calls. Biological information was gathered on seven streams using electrofishing surveys and DNR creel clerks collected catch, effort and harvest data on four streams.

Using this information, fisheries staff worked to select specific stream segments or sub-watersheds to be considered for the 10 fish possession limit based on guidelines proposed by the DNR's Fisheries Division and accepted by the Natural Resources Committee. Consideration was given at the level of individual sub-watersheds, but also sought to look broadly across all unit and community boundaries. The intent was to find a way to diversify fishing opportunities across the landscape while simultaneously being protective of brook trout populations.

The proposal seeks to implement a higher brook trout possession limit on 33 stream sections distributed throughout the Upper Peninsula. In terms of stream mileage, the selected sections represent about 8% of the total mileage for Type 1 Upper Peninsula streams.

The proposed regulation changes will benefit anglers by creating additional fishing opportunities. Details about specific stream sections to be included under the new regulation will be presented at the October 12 Natural Resources Commission meeting, to be held at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena.