History and Overview

History of the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station

February 1894 - Federal fish hatchery ("egg take") operations begin on the current site of the CFRS.

Charlevoix Hatchery

1900 - Coast Guard lifesaving station completed on Pine River channel.

Coast Guard Station

1902 - Charlevoix has always been home to the fisheries field. At the turn of the century, O'Neill's dock was a busy place. Stringing, drying and repairing fish nets took up much of a fishermen's time when ashore. The major fish producers were O'Neill, Booth and Geiken which all called Round Lake home. Photo courtesy of Charlevoix Historical Society.

Fisheries staff strining, drying and repairing fish nets

1903 - Charlevoix National Fish Hatchery dedicated.

1918 - New Federal fish hatchery building (building currently housing the CFRS) was constructed.

Staff in Front of Hatchery Building

1934-1938 - Hatchery operations were suspended, due to the Depression.

Charlevoix Hatchery

1939 - Facility re-opened as a "rearing station" (raising fish that were hatched at other facilities, including the original Oden Hatchery).

1964 - Federal operations at the Charlevoix Hatchery were downgraded as a result of construction of a new hatchery near Jordan River (current Jordan River National Fish Hatchery).

Summer 1967 - Michigan Department of Conservation begins use of facility for Great Lakes assessment work and as "overflow" rearing facility for coho salmon and rainbow trout.

December 1967 - S/V Steelhead launched at the port of Escanaba.

Survey Vessel Steelhead

May 1968 - Facility officially dedicated as Michigan Department of Conservation Great Lakes Fishery Station.

Current Hatchery Building

Ariel View of Charlevoix Hatchery

Overview of the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station
The mission of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Research and Evaluation Program is to provide information, models and advice to make possible science-based management of Michigan's fishery resources. Since 1967, the Department has maintained a research station on Lake Michigan at Charlevoix, to fulfill the mission with emphasis on aquatic resources of Lake Michigan and its tributaries. This station was the first state-operated research facility dedicated to fisheries assessment work on the Great Lakes. The station facilities include a 63' survey vessel S/V Steelhead for off-shore assessment work, a 23' boat (the R/V Pimephales) for near-shore work, as well as laboratory areas and equipment. Initially, the research conducted at the Charlevoix station focused on assessment of commercially important fish species including lake trout, lake whitefish, and bloater chubs. In the 1980's and 1990's, research activities were expanded to include recreational creel surveys, tagging programs, studies of introduced salmonids, and evaluation of inshore fishes such as yellow perch and round goby. Charlevoix researchers are involved in significant collaborative research efforts with personnel from other state and governmental agencies as well as many of the universities in the Great Lakes region. This work includes lake trout early life history research, population modeling efforts, studies of various anadromous salmon and trout populations, lake herring and lake whitefish early life-history research, as well as state-of-the-art fish age and growth evaluations.