Lake Trout Hooking Mortality Study

This study is occurring in two different locations. One study site is Lake Superior near Marquette and the other in Lake Huron near Alpena (from Thunder Bay south, almost to Oscoda). The goal of this study is to assess the effects of hooking and handling on survival of recreationally caught lake trout that are released. This study will be conducted over the next 5 years. A total of 600 recreationally-caught and 600 trap-net-caught lake trout are to be tagged in each of the first 3 years of the study; half of them being tagged in May-June and the other half in July-September. The reason for the trap-net caught fish is to provide a control group, one not stressed by recreational angling, for comparison with survival of lake trout hooked by angling and released.


Photo of tagged fish


There is a $10 reward for tag returns. Anglers should call the phone number that is listed on the tag and report the tag number as well as the date caught. If anglers catch a tagged lake trout and release it, they are urged to first cut off the tag. The reward for the tag will be paid whether the fish is kept or released, but the tag must be removed. We will also require the angler's address so that we can mail them the reward check. Along with the check the angler will receive a letter that explains the study and gives them some information on the fish that they caught; such as size, date, and location the lake trout was tagged.

The DNR will compare the number of tag returns of lake trout from trap nets with those tagged by recreational angling. The difference in tag returns will allow us to estimate the mortality caused by hooking. The DNRE will use the information to evaluate the effectiveness of various angling regulations designed to protect lake trout, particularly those that require the release of lake trout.

For questions or comments please contact:

Alpena Fisheries Research Station

Marquette Fisheries Research Station