MARQUETTE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division has recommended keeping the brook trout daily possession limit in the Upper Peninsula at five fish per day.
Public input on the recommendation can be provided at the Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing on Sept. 13. The final decision on the brook trout possession limit will be announced at the NRC meeting in Ontonagon on Oct. 11.
Over the past several months, the DNR had been contemplating a change to 10 fish each day, which was previously the daily bag limit until it was reduced to the five fish limit in 2000. The agency completed internal and external reviews, including soliciting public comment through meetings and telephone and online surveys.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division is recommending that the limit for brook trout, shown above, in the Upper Peninsula remain at five fish per day. The DNR has been studying raising the limit to 10 fish per day at the request of anglers. (Journal file photo)
Anglers had asked the DNR to consider making the increase in daily possession limit for brook trout in the Upper Peninsula. Fisheries officials gave three reasons for not recommending an increased brook trout bag limit, which included no biological benefits and some slight biological risks associated with increasing the limit; based on public surveys and historic creel data, it appears raising the bag limit would benefit a relatively small percentage of the angling population; and nearly twice as many anglers opposed the increase compared to those supporting it.
"There does not appear to be widespread support for raising the daily possession limit for brook trout. In general, catch rates and the opportunity to catch larger fish were more important to anglers than catching fish to eat. Raising the daily possession limit would yield no biological benefits. Based on the available biological data, the effects of raising the daily possession limit on catch rates and the size structure of brook trout populations would be minimal," the DNR review summary stated. "However, many anglers were skeptical of our data and indicated that the potential risk of decreasing the abundance of adult trout (especially larger fish) outweighs the potential benefit of increased harvest opportunities."
Some additional details of the DNR's review included:
For additional information on how the recommendation was developed, including full data from the public survey, see the "Brook Trout Daily Possession Limit Statewide Opinion Survey Review" at www.michigan.gov/fishing.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.