February 25, 2015
The Great Lakes Echo reports that although a study has found that invasive round goby are “one of the most successful aquatic invaders” ever in the Great Lakes, smallmouth bass appear to be feasting on gobies:
25 years after their discovery in the Great Lakes, “we’re not documenting specific harms from gobies,” Popoff said, referring to feared environmental, economic and human health concerns.
In fact, there are indications of possible benefits from their presence, he said. For example, “we are seeing amazing smallmouth bass,” as well as some “amazing walleye,” while lake trout have modified their diets from sculpin to round gobies.
One possible exception, according to Popoff, is a decline in sculpin population as documented in Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay because they compete with round gobies for space and food. However, scientists haven’t determined whether the lake’s overall sculpin population is down or whether they’ve merely moved to deeper areas with fewer round gobies.
…However, the study found the round goby is now a widely available food source for many native fish because of its “extreme abundance, tolerance to a variety of habitat conditions and relatively small size.”
In lakes Erie and Ontario, round gobies accounted for 75 percent of the smallmouth bass diet, Crane said. If all other species have maintained stable populations, that means the bass are putting less pressure on other food sources.
Nice to see the Great Lakes winning a battle – read on for lots more.
April 9, 2014
Jorie started her Equinox to Equinox series on March 20th – click the link to follow along until, I imagine, September 23rd.
PS: This is Thill’s Fish House in Marquette, and excellent place to buy fresh, Lake Superior fish in the Marquette harbor.
January 4, 2014
“I fish because I love to. Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly. Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape. Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion. Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience.
Because I suspect that men are going this way for the last time and I for one don’t want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant – and not nearly so much fun.
― Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Robert Traver was the pen name of Ishpeming native John D. Voelker. Voelker was a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, renown fly-fisherman and author. Anatomy of a Murder was made into one of the best courtroom dramas of all time. The film was set and shot in Big Bay, Marquette, Ishpeming and Michigamme. Voelker was heavily involved in the production of the film. He appears in the trailer, and you can watch the movie in its entirety on YouTube.
PS: I don’t always thank the people who make suggestions for Michigan in Pictures posts, be they intended or accidental. One of my 2014 resolutions is to share more of myself and the family & friends who love this state as much as I do. One of these is John Di Giacamo, an attorney who shared a tiny bit of the quotation that still holds so much relevance. Thanks John!
September 18, 2013
I tried to find something amazing about Lake Michigan – a poem, a legend, anything – but I really couldn’t find something to match up with this stunning photo. I’ll fall back on the real & urgent need to protect the beauty of Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes from the very real threat of Asian carp.
Asian carp just suck: massive, leaping fish that seriously injure boaters and eat everything else in the lake. They would be an apocalypse for the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry, and it is estimated that just 20 fish getting in would be all it would take.
So of course, yesterday John Flesher (IMO the best environmental journalist in the Great Lakes who also happens to be my neighbor) wrote an article on Asian carp that begins:
The recent discovery of a large Asian carp near Chicago underscores the need to protect the Great Lakes from the voracious fish and other invasive species that could slip into Lake Michigan, two members of Congress said Tuesday.
“If Asian carp are not stopped before they enter the Great Lakes, they could destroy the ecosystem, as well as the boating and fishing industries, and hundreds of thousands of jobs,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.
…John Goss said the 53-inch, 82-pound fish was caught about a month ago in Flatfoot Lake, on the Illinois-Indiana state line.
Flatfoot Lake is landlocked and surrounded by a berm that would prevent it from flooding and enabling Asian carp to escape, said Chris McCloud, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
But it’s very close to Chicago’s Lake Calumet, where commercial fishermen landed a 3-foot-long Asian carp in 2010 about six miles from Lake Michigan. Lake Calumet and Lake Michigan are connected by the Calumet River.
The latest find “is another reminder that we must find a permanent solution to protect the Great Lakes,” Rep. Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, said Tuesday.
Indeed. How about we work on that? The Great Lakes are far too beautiful to be filled with the likes of Asian carp. If you agree, please share this with others. We can do something about this threat to our lakes.
Check this photo out background bigtacular, see more in Dave’s slideshow and also check out his photography website, Marvin’s Gardens including a shot of what I’m pretty sure was his breakfast up on Brevort Lake!
Regrettably, there’s more Asian carp on Michigan in Pictures.
June 4, 2013
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources page on Brown Trout, Salmo trutta says that Brown trout is something of a misnomer as many Great Lakes brown trout are mainly silver in color. Michigan Sea Grant has excellent information about Great Lakes fish, and their Brown Trout entry says that the they were first stocked in the Great Lakes in the 1880s and:
The brown trout’s scientific name translates to “trout-salmon.” The Atlantic salmon and brown trout both belong to the genus Salmo. Rainbow trout, coho salmon, and Chinook salmon belong to a different genus – Oncorhynchus.
Great Lakes brown trout typically enter tributaries to spawn during late fall. Reef spawning also has been documented in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Although naturally reproducing populations of brown trout exist in Michigan waters, most are maintained through stocking. Unlike Chinook and coho salmon, brown trout do not necessarily die after spawning and can live for up to 13 years in Lake Michigan.
Browns can tolerate warmer water than other trout species, which adds to their popularity as a gamefish in rivers that are not suitable for native brook trout. In the Great Lakes, brown trout stay near shore in waters less than 50 feet deep, which makes them an ideal gamefish for shallow bays such as Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay.
The diet of brown trout varies greatly depending on its environment and available food sources. In the Great Lakes, brown trout prey mostly on forage fish such as alewife, rainbow smelt, and round goby. In rivers, small browns eat a variety of aquatic invertebrates. Larger fish transition to a diet of small fish, large insects, and even small rodents. Big browns are notorious for their wariness and nocturnal feeding habits.
Read on for more from Michigan Sea Grant and connect with them on Facebook. For more information on how and where to catch brown trout see the DNR’s Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them and Better Fishing Waters.
May 8, 2013
The 1896 book Myths and Legends of our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner relates a rather gruesome version of the tale of the origin of Whitefish, which this photo reminded me of.
An Indian who lived far in the north was so devoted to the chase that he was never at home for the whole of a day, to the sorrow of his two boys, who liked nothing so much as to sport with him and to be allowed to practise with his weapons. Their mother told them that on no account were they to speak to him of the young man who visited the lodge while their father was away, and it was not until they were well grown and knew what the duty of wives should be that they resolved to disobey her. The hunter struck the woman dead when he learned of her perfidy. So greatly did her spirit trouble them, however, that they could no longer abide in their old home in peace and comfort, and they left the country and journeyed southward until they came to the Sault Sainte Marie.
As they stood beside the falls a head came rolling toward them on the earth—the head of the dead woman. At that moment, too, a crane was seen riding on the surface of the water, whirling about in its strongest eddies, and when one of the boys called to it, “O Grandfather, we are persecuted by a spirit; take us across the falls,” the crane flew to them. “Cling to my back and do not touch my head,” it said to them, and landed them safely on the farther shore.
But now the head screamed, “Come, grandfather, and carry me over, for I have lost my children and am sorely distressed,” and the bird flew to her likewise. “Be careful not to touch my head,” it said. The head promised obedience, but succumbed to curiosity when half-way over and touched the bird’s head to see what was the matter with him. With a lurch the crane flung off his burden and it fell into the rapids. As it swept down, bumping against the rocks, the brains were pounded out and strewn over the water. “You were useless in life,” cried the crane. “You shall not be so in death. Become fish!” And the bits of brain changed to roe that presently hatched to a delicate white fish, the flesh whereof is esteemed by Indians of the lakes, and white men, likewise. The family pitched a lodge near the spot and took the crane as their totem or name-mark. Many of their descendants bear it to this day.
The version I read in one of my all-time favorite books, Lore of the Great Turtle : Indian Legends of Mackinac Retold by Dirk Gringhuis is pretty dark as well. Michigan in Pictures has a post with all the information about Sandhill Cranes in Michigan, and you can also check out Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) from the Michigan DNR.
More birds on Michigan in Pictures.
January 31, 2013
Judas test: Will carp betray their own? on the Great Lakes Echo says that University of Minnesota researchers are working to put a new tool in the arsenal of those seeking to thwart the voracious and invasive Asian carp.
The researchers are fitting common carp, or “Judas fish,” with transmitters to lead them to other, larger schools of common carp, the station reports.
“(Carp) seem to be actually exceptionally social, they really hang out together,” researcher Peter Sorensen told the station. “We have to confirm that, but it sure looks that way.”
Watch the report from CBS Minnesota to learn how researchers hope to use the same technique to locate Asian carp populations for extermination.
More fish on Michigan in Pictures.