Skip to main content

Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station

Located in Charlevoix, the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station conducts research and stock assessments on fish populations in Lake Michigan and its tributaries.

Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station
96 Grant Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Visit our YouTube Channel

SV Steelhead

Steelhead II

In 2022, the DNR received funding to replace the original S/V Steelhead, which has been in operation for 55 years. Given the age, maintenance costs and large carbon footprint of this survey vessel, a replacement was necessary. The new vessel will be a cleaner, more efficient technologically updated platform to provide assessment capabilities needed to meet current and future fisheries management information requirements. 

The T. D. Vinette Company of Escanaba, Michigan designed and constructed the SV Steelhead in 1967. The S/V Steelhead is classified as a commercial trawler. It was constructed for the DNR for the purpose of sampling fisheries and deepwater habitats of the Great Lakes. It has operated out of the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station since 1968.


Length: 62.5 feet
Beam width: 16.3 feet
Draft: 6.0 feet
Displacement weight: 70 tons
Hull: Welded-steel plate (3/8 inch forward ship and 3/16 inch amidship and aft)
Deck: Steel
Superstructure: Aluminum
Engines: Twin, V-6, 380 horsepower Cummins diesel
Running speed: 10.5 knots (12mph)

The SV Steelhead typically operates from March through December, mainly on Lake Michigan although occasionally assisting with other Great Lakes projects. The SV Steelhead is the only one of the four state research vessels that use on-board crew accommodations and has five berths. The galley contains a refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, sink with heated water and small table. There is a small shower and electric toilet.

Safety equipment onboard includes fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, flares, AED, bilge pump, alarm bells for pressure and heat in the engine room, and an engine room automatic fire suppression system. The vessel is equipped with EPIRB (an emergency locator beacon), meteorological equipment, a marine radio to determine weather conditions, and navigational aids including radar, Loran, GPS, a chart plotter, depth sounder, autopilot, and computer-aided charting systems.

The vessel was designed for fishing suspended and bottom gill nets as well as trawls. The vessel also provides an excellent platform for use of most habitat sampling gear, including sonar, cameras, diving and dredges. An enclosed heated laboratory/sample work-up area is located just forward of the rear net lifting area.

Research Vessel Pimephales

The Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station maintains a smaller research vessel, the R/V Pimephales ("Bluntnose minnow") for sampling shallower (generally less than 50 feet deep) near-shore waters and bays. The boat is trailerable making it an excellent vessel for a variety of sampling needs and locations. The R/V Pimephales provides a sturdy platform for many types of assessments and is equipped with a small gill net lifter. The vessel is capable of fishing small trawls, larval fish tow nets, plankton nets, as well as gill nets.


Length: 23 feet 

Beam width: 8 feet 

Draft: 43 feet 

Hull: Welded aluminum 

Engines: Twin, 115 horsepower outboard motors 

Running speed: 22 knots (25 mph)

Pimephales Vessel Schedule