A Summary of Michigan's Fish Production Program

The DNR's Fish Production Section produces and delivers fish of the correct species, strain (a genetic type of a specific species), size, date and location as directed by Fisheries Division Management Unit staff.  To accomplish this task, the DNR operates six large fish hatcheries, five permanent salmonid egg-take stations and up to 40 rearing ponds. Two hatcheries are located in the Upper Peninsula while four hatcheries are located in the Lower Peninsula on the west side of the state (click here for a map of those locations).

In order to operate a hatchery system, it is critical to have reliable egg and sperm sources are available for species that can not be held as captive broodstock. Fisheries Division operates six permanent salmonid egg take stations for Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout (a migratory form of rainbow trout). All are located in the Lower Peninsula with four on Lake Michigan tributary streams and one on a Lake Huron tributary stream.

The Swan River (near Rogers City), Medusa Creek (near Charlevoix), Boardman River (Traverse City) and the Little Manistee Weirs (near Manistee) are used in the fall for chinook salmon egg takes with the Little Manistee Weir being the primary egg take location for this species. The Platte River State Fish Hatchery Weir is used in the fall for coho salmon egg takes and is a backup facility for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout egg takes. The Little Manistee Weir is primary weir used for steelhead egg takes in the spring. Each site that is a Chinook or coho salmon egg-take station are stocked to ensure sufficient fish return for egg-take purposes. The DNR does not stock steelhead for egg takes needs and strictly uses the wild produced fish from the Little Manistee River.

In addition to the permanent egg-take stations, the DNR collects eggs and sperm from natural spawning runs of walleye in the Muskegon River (near Croton Dam), Tittabawassee River (near Midland Dam) and Little Bay de Noc (near Rapid River).

Similarly, DNR collects eggs, sperm and occasionally fry from natural spawning runs of lake sturgeon from the Sturgeon River (Baraga County), Black River (Cheboygan County) and Menominee River (Menominee County). We also maintain brood stocks of northern muskellunge in Thornapple Lake (Barry County) and Lake Hudson (Lenawee County) but these muskellunge strains are being phased out of production.  A new broodstock line of Great Lakes (spotted) muskellunge is being developed at this time and will be stocked for egg take purposes in Thornapple Lake and Big Bear Lake (Otsego County).   We use electrofishing boats and trap nets to collect muskellunge from the wild fish during spawning periods in our broodstock lakes.