Current Research and Assessment Topics

Long-term monitoring and assessment (Resource Inventory RESIN)
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Study 462. Charter boat effort and harvest from the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes.

  • Objective: To obtain a continuous annual record of the charter fishing effort, harvest and harvest rate of the major sport fish in the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: Donna Wesander, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, wesanded@michigan.gov

Study 464. Statewide coded-wire tagging and tag recovery program.

  • Objectives: To coded-wire tag and clip adipose fins from experimental lots of fish at state fish hatcheries. To design, develop, and manage databases for research studies that use coded-wire tags.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: David F. Clapp, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, clappd@michigan.gov

Study 484. Population dynamics of yellow perch stocks in Michigan waters of Lake Michigan.

  • Objectives: (1) To summarize pertinent existing data from state, federal, commercial, sport, university, and private sources; (2) to conduct assessment netting to establish baseline data and determine whether lack of recruitment and declining yellow perch numbers are problems in Michigan waters; (3) to determine whether factors of fish health might be affecting abundance or recruitment of yellow perch; (4) to oversee a program of biological data collection for sport-caught yellow perch; (5) to investigate discreteness of yellow perch populations in Lake Michigan; and (6) to develop information and mathematical models from these data that will allow managers to predict, with some predetermined level of certainty, the outcome of various yellow perch management strategies.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: David F. Clapp, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, clappd@michigan.gov

Study 485. Assessment of salmonine populations and their prey in Michigan waters of Lake Michigan.

  • Objective: To assess the health and status of Chinook and coho salmon stocks in Lake Michigan, we will (1) evaluate the relative abundance, distribution, and biological characteristics (growth, mortality, diet composition, and clinical indicators of disease) for both hatchery and naturally reproduced Chinook and coho salmon using a fishery-independent gill net survey, (2) evaluate the abundance, biomass, and distribution of important prey fish from acoustic and midwater trawl surveys; (3) relate the variation in prey levels to Chinook and coho salmon growth, abundance, recruitment, and survival, and (4) assess the relative influence of bottom-up and top-down mechanisms on fluctuations in predator-prey interactions in Lake Michigan.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

Study 486. Assessment of lake trout populations in Michigan's waters of Lake Michigan.

  • Objectives: (1) To determine the relative abundance, length and age composition, and sea lamprey wounding and mortality rates for lake trout in Lake Michigan using existing data from state, federal, commercial, sport, university, and private sources; (2) To conduct assessment netting to update biological data; (3) To determine the total allowable catch (TAC) of lake trout from management units within 1836 treaty waters.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: Jory L. Jonas, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, jonasj@michigan.gov

Study 499. Michigan statewide angler survey program.

  • Objectives: (1) To obtain a continuous record of sport fishing effort, catch and harvest, catch and harvest rates, and catch composition for important Great Lakes, tributary, and inland fisheries of the State of Michigan. (2) to perform long-term monitoring of length, weight, age, and tagging information for important Great Lakes, tributary, and inland fisheries of the State of Michigan (3) To provide consistent protocols and data collection methods, program oversight, and timely data analysis of recreational fisheries statistics to MDNR Fisheries Division managers and research biologists.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: Tracy Kolb, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, kolbt@michigan.gov

Study 513. Evaluation of returns of salmonids to weirs in Michigan's waters of the Great Lakes.

  • Objectives: (1) To annually monitor and record returns of chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout to Michigan weir operation facilities. (2) To mark chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout at index sites and provide annual estimates of size at age. (3) To collect data and report on contracted salmon harvest operations. (4) To provide annual data summaries of weir returns to be used in Management Unit reports, GLFC reports, MDNR web site updates, and for distribution to interested researchers and the public.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Resource Inventory Group)
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

Experiments, Evaluations, and Model Development (EEMO)
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Study 487. Performance, survival and production of steelhead strains in tributaries of Lake Michigan.

  • Objectives: To evaluate strain performance of winter (Michigan) and summer (Skamania) strains of steelhead. To evaluate the performance of steelhead in six rivers, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. To evaluate returns of steelhead from upstream and downstream plants in rivers. To describe year-to-year variation in growth and survival of steelhead populations in Michigan. To define the quality condition and health of different strains and batches of hatchery produced fish.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Experiments, Evaluations, Model Development Group)
  • Contact: Jory L. Jonas, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, jonasj@michigan.gov

Study 692. Influence of total length and condition at stocking on chinook salmon survival and time at large.

  • Objectives: (1) To evaluate the influence of the total length of stocked chinook salmon on post-stocking survival. (2) To evaluate the influence of total length of chinook salmon at stocking on the age and size of fish returning to spawn. (3) To evaluate the cost per return of small verses large stocked chinook salmon. (4) To evaluate the influence of condition on survival of chinook salmon stocked at the same size. (5) To evaluate the influences of high and low condition on the return size and age of chinook salmon stocked at similar sizes. (6) To determine the cost per return of chinook salmon at two condition levels.
  • Funding Source: Federal Aid (Experiments, Evaluations, Model Development Group)
  • Contact: Jory Jonas, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, jonasj@michigan.gov

Game and Fish Funded Studies

Study 549. Assessment of lake whitefish stocks in Michigan waters of the upper Great Lakes.

  • Objectives: (1) To improve collections of biological data from lake whitefish harvested by state-licensed commercial fisheries, (2) To design, use, and improve standard procedures for age and maturity assignments, (3) To design a state-wide database for the above biological and pathological data collection, (4) To analyze catch and effort data from state-licensed commercial fisheries, (5) To design, maintain, and improve fishery-independent surveys on lake whitefish stocks, and (6) To use a modeling approach in assessment of discrete lake whitefish stocks, to estimate their long term sustainable yield, and to recommend annual harvest quotas or assess current status of populations.
  • Funding Source: Game and Fish Funding
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt (for Lake Michigan), Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

Other collaborations and externally funded investigations

Investigations into smallmouth bass populations in the Beaver Island archipelago.

  • Objectives: For smallmouth bass populations, (1) Compare current population to historic estimates, (2) Document changes in the population, (3) Determine the extent of movement around the archipelago.
  • Funding Source: Collaboration with Central Michigan University, Charlevoix Research Station, and Lake Michigan Basin Team.
  • Contact: David F. Clapp or John Clevenger, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, clappd@michigan.gov, clevengj@michigan.gov

Assessment of native fish reproduction using an innovative approach to estimating egg deposition patterns.

  • Objectives: (1) Apply a new method using custom made aluminum funnels to estimate egg deposition rates, (2) Compare estimates of egg densities to other sampling methods, and (3) Compare egg deposition patterns to physical and biological habitat characteristics.
  • Funding Source: Collaboration with Central Michigan University, Charlevoix Research Station, and Lake Michigan Basin Team.
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

The importance of the larval stage to cisco recruitment variation in the Great Lakes

  • Objectives: Sample multiple spawning/natal sites in Lake Superior and single sites in lakes Huron and Michigan to: (1) examine inter-annual variability in larvae and larval production per spawner within each site, across sites, and across lakes to determine consistency and synchronicity in recruitment patterns at the larval stage; (2) correlate larval densities with year-class strength index at age-1 to identify if bottleneck occurs prior to or after the larval stage; and (3) examine the influence of hatch date, thermal history, and rainbow smelt abundance on recruitment patterns to test the hypothesis that growth potential at the larval stage (determined by hatch date, water temperature, and resources), and not predation, is the dominant factor governing recruitment variability.
  • Funding Source: Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt (for Lake Michigan), Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

Mixed-stock analysis of Lake Michigan's lake whitefish commercial fishery and historical integrity of resolved genetic units

  • Objectives: (1) To use multi-locus microsatellite data and individual assignment tests to identify the stock of origin for lake whitefish sampled from the 2009-2010 Lake Michigan commercial harvest, (2) Determine if contemporary genetic stock boundaries are consistent with historical genetic structure in Lake Michigan lake whitefish using archived scale samples from the historic commercial harvest, (3) To use multi-locus microsatellite data and individual assignment tests/mixed-stock analysis to determine if there are differences in which stocks are exploited in the contemporary lake whitefish commercial harvest and historical (1973, 1986, and 1996) commercial harvests.
  • Funding Source: Great Lakes Fisheries Commission.
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

Develop an updated decision model for Lake Michigan salmonine stocking

  • Objectives: Decision analysis comprises a series of critical steps: (1) identification of management options; (2) identification of management objectives; (3) determination of critical uncertainties; (4) assessment of probabilities associated with these critical uncertainties; (5) development of a model to forecast the (uncertain) consequences of management options; (6) ranking of management options in terms of their performance at meeting management objectives; and (7) a sensitivity analysis of step 6.
  • Funding Source: Great Lakes Fisheries Trust.
  • Contact: Randall M. Claramunt, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, claramur@michigan.gov

Analysis of Tagging Data to Quantify Lake Trout Migration in Lake Michigan

  • Objectives: We propose to quantify distribution of lake trout released in refuges along statistical districts in Lake Michigan to infer movements based on CWT recovery data using statistical techniques to account for effort and differences in efficiency among recovery sources. We will derive effort-corrected and statistically-based estimates utilizing existing data from CWT recoveries. Results from the study will aid restoration efforts and help in achieving management objectives defined in lake trout restoration plans.
  • Funding Source: Collaboration with Dr. Sara Alderstein, University of Michigan and funded by the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust.
  • Contact: Jory Jonas, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, jonasj@michigan.gov

Collection of Fall Run Lake Trout for EPA-GLNPO Great Lakes Fish Monitoring Program

  • Objectives: Collect samples necessary to investigate contaminant levels in Great Lakes fish populations, specifically Lake Michigan and Lake Huron lake trout.
  • Funding Source: Michigan DNR and USEPA-GLNPO.
  • Contact: David F. Clapp, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, clappd@michigan.gov

Surveillance of Wild and Feral Fish Species Susceptible to Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

  • Objectives: To determine the distribution of VHS (presence/absence) in Lake Michigan fish populations.
  • Funding Source: MDNR and USDA / APHIS / Veterinary Services (to Fisheries Division).
  • Contact: David F. Clapp, Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station, 231-547-2914, clappd@michigan.gov