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DNR seeks Public Input on Michigan’s brook trout regulations

March 27th, 2012

The Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division is asking for public input on potential changes to brook trout daily possession limits for Upper Peninsula streams.

This is hot topic, one that has come up during NRC meetings from both the Commissioners and the public. It is also an issue that delegates grappled with at MUCC’s 2011 Convention last summer as well as MUCC’s Board of Directors, but they ultimately postponed a decision until this year’s Annual Convention.

The DNR is now asking the public to give their thoughts on whether a 10 fish limit in the UP is the “right” thing to do.

The brook trout is native to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and some parts of the Lower Peninsula and is the official state fish. Since the early 1900s, Fisheries Division has used a combination of stocking, habitat improvements and fishing regulations to protect and enhance brook trout fishing opportunities. One of the tools that fisheries managers have used to protect and rehabilitate brook trout populations is possession limits.

Since 2001, anglers have asked Fisheries Division to consider returning the brook trout possession limit to 10 fish on Upper Peninsula streams. Because of these consistent requests, Fisheries Division staff evaluated the potential biological consequences of increasing the brook trout daily possession limit from five to 10 fish. They have concluded that the proposed daily possession limit change would have minimal biological effects on brook trout populations.

However, to maintain fishing regulations that optimize anglers’ enjoyment of our aquatic resources in Michigan, Fisheries Division needs accurate information regarding angler behavior and preferences. Therefore, the Division is requesting public input regarding brook trout daily possession limits on Upper Peninsula streams. Two regulation options have been proposed:

  1. Maintain the existing daily possession limit of five (5) fish, but no more than three (3) trout 15 inches or greater.
  2. Change the daily possession limit to five (5) fish, plus an additional five (5) brook trout, but no more than three (3) trout 15 inches or greater.

Please note that under this proposal, the daily possession limit would not change for gear restricted streams that currently have possession limits that differ from those in Types 1-4 regulated trout streams. To read more about the brook trout regulation review, please visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

The public is being asked to comment on regulation options through an online survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BrookTroutRegulations.

You can also take the survey over the telephone by calling Debbie Robinson at the Plainwell Operations Service Center at (269) 685-6851. The online and telephone surveys will close on Friday, May 25.

A series of public meetings will also be held across the state to get more information about the statewide proposals, answer questions, and give more detailed public input.

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