Fish In The Great Lakes

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Holland Lake Michigan Mi

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If you ever wondered what the quickest way to Europe is, this is it. Holland is a living testament to Dutch heritage, and a bona fide time machine. Its also one of the very best Great Lakes fishing destinations.

The town lies on two lakes: Lake Macatawa and its bigger brother, Lake Michigan.

In mid-spring, fishing comes alive in this part of Lake Michigan. This is when you can catch keeper Brown Trout, Coho Salmon, and the mighty Chinook. If it gets windy, just stay in the smaller Macatawa Lake. Apart from some welcome shelter, youll also find great numbers of Bluegill, Perch, and Walleye here.

What comes to mind when you think of the Netherlands? Tulips, windmills, and wooden shoes, right? Well, youll find no shortage of those in this charming lake town. If you thought spring fishing was great, wait until youve seen the rest of the town. Take a walk through a field of blooming tulips in Windmill Island Gardens, as the 250-year-old De Zwaan windmill stands tall.

The one place in Holland you cant miss has to be the Holland State Park beach. If the vast expanse of white sand doesnt leave you in awe, the astonishing view of Lake Michigan ahead surely will. The beach is where youll find loads of opportunities for water sports, as well as grills and picnics.

Top 10 Fish To Catch: Great Lakes Means Great Fishing

Summer is hands-down the most popular fishing season on the Great Lakes because people on vacation want to fish.

But Great Lakes fishing is a year-round sport. With a range of fish that offer a tasty meal, a challenge to land or both, anglers can have 365 days of fun on the lakes and their tributaries.

Its hard to pin down the top fish due to the number of species, anglers and locations, but Great Lakes Now narrowed down a list of 10 finned quarry that will make for a good time catching or even just attempting to catch.

Types Of Fish Found In The Great Lakes

The different types of fish are a food source for larger animals like birds, otters, and bears. When they die, their bodies provide food on the bottom of the lake for organisms that cant swim to the surface to eat plankton.

There is also a special group of animals called copepods that live in fish poop and decomposing fish. There are over 160 species of copepods that live in the Great Lakes, turning dead fish into food for other animals.

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PFAS concentrations averaged 278 times higher than chemicals found in commercially caught fish tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the last three years. Andrews said the difference likely stems from store-bought fish that comes from marine environments or fish farms that have less polluted water.

Researchers called for a single fish consumption advisory for freshwater fish nationwide. Andrews advised anglers to pursue alternatives to eating freshwater fish, but he highlighted the issue poses environmental justice concerns for populations that rely more on fishing for sustenance.

Adult lake trout reared at Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. A new study has found that lake trout sampled near Superior had PFOS levels of 21,000 parts per trillion. Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS Midwest Region

In 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services began conducting a biomonitoring study of Burmese residents in Milwaukee whose diets are traditionally rich in fish. The findings showed high percentages of women of child-bearing age who ate sportfish potentially polluted with mercury and other contaminants like PFAS, according to Jon Meiman, chief medical officer for environmental and occupational health at DHS.

Sean Strom, a toxicologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said theyre examining potential sources of PFOS contamination in Lake Superior smelt.

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Atlantic Salmon 8 To 12 Lbs

Great Lakes Fishes Poster 2014  Publications

©Ilya Marchenko/

The Atlantic salmon is a ray-finned fish belonging to the Salmonidae family. It is the third-largest Salmonidae species, behind Siberian Taimen and Pacific Chinook Salmon, with a length of 28 to 30 inches and a weight of up to 12 lbs .Rivers in Europe and the northeastern coast of North America are natural breeding areas for Atlantic salmon. Changes in freshwater environments and climate significantly impact this species distribution.

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Lake Sturgeon 19842 Lbs

©Fabien Monteil/

Weighing almost 200 pounds or 90 kilograms, the lake sturgeon is undoubtedly the biggest Great Lake fish. Apart from being a prized catch for its notable mass, the lake sturgeon is also the source of the expensive caviar. Despite their name, lake sturgeon can be found in both rivers and lakes. The fishs range extends from Hudson Bay to the Mississippi River in North America. This fish was originally a common species in the Great Lakes ecosystems, but overfishing has reduced its population. Small invertebrates, including crayfish, snails, clams, and leeches, are consumed by lake sturgeon around the lakes bottom.

Commercial And Sport Fishing

Whitefish generate the greatest income for Great Lakes commercial fisheries in the United States and Canada. Commercial fishing, for the most part, is carried out by means of trapnets and gillnets set during the open water season.

The average-sized whitefish in the commercial catch measure 17-22 inches in length and weigh 1.5-4 pounds. The largest individual on record was more than 42 pounds and was harvested from Lake Superior in 1918.

While not typically noted as a game fish, in recent years the lake whitefish has been the object of an active sport fishery in many parts of its range. Anglers catch it on a small hook usually baited with a fish egg.

Michigan Sea Grant has worked with the commercial whitefish fisheries throughout the Great Lakes to help promote the native species. To learn more about these marketing efforts, see the edition of Michigan Sea Grants Upwellings newsletter.

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Great Lakes Fishes Field Guide

Two hundred species of fishes call the Great Lakes home. Some are big. Some are small. Some are so common that just about everyone has heard of them. Some are so rare that only a handful of biologists have ever seen them in the wild. And some are popular to catch and eat, supporting a …more

Two hundred species of fishes call the Great Lakes home. Some are big. Some are small. Some are so common that just about everyone has heard of them. Some are so rare that only a handful of biologists have ever seen them in the wild. And some are popular to catch and eat, supporting a multibillion-dollar industry. This guide is intended to help people identify fishes from the Great Lakes. It focuses on those species that people are most likely to come across, as well as a sample of fish diversity. If you see a fish you cannot identify, you can post an image online so others can help you figure it out. These images will be incorporated into an online database that will publicly display the pictures on a map. This information can be used for research and conservation projects that will help sustain and protect our Great Lakes natural heritage.

Thank you for helping to keep the lakes great! less

In Focus: Climate Change

Cold Water Giants on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are a crown jewel of North America, holding nearly one-fifth of the planet’s surface freshwater. They have nearly 11,000 miles of shoreline and harbor, more than 530,000 acres of coastal wetlands and the world’s largest freshwater delta . They range from the cold and deep waters of Lake Superior to the relatively warm and shallow waters of Lake Erie.

The watershed drains more than 200,000 square miles ranging from heavily forested areas to mixed urban and agricultural development, and supports approximately 6,000 species. The lakes are home to numerous fish, including species undergoing restoration efforts such as lake trout and lake sturgeon, and species that are popular in commercial or recreational fisheries, including lake whitefish, walleye, muskellunge and several introduced salmon species.

The Great Lakes are important sources of drinking water, economic livelihood and recreation opportunities for millions of Americans and Canadians. Recreational boating in the eight Great Lakes states produces more than $35 billion in economic activity annually, and fishing, hunting and wildlife watching amount to more than $18 billion in annual economic activity in these states.

Threats from Climate Change

Already, Lake Superior has increased water temperatures and an earlier onset of summer stratification by about two weeks in just the past 30 years. Within another 30 years Lake Superior may be mostly ice-free in a typical winter.

Great Lakes Regional Center

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Kinds Of Fish In The Great Lakes

Lake trout: The lake trout lives in the deep dark water of the Great Lakes. Its color ranges from brown to black, sometimes with red or green spots. These fish grow to very large sizes and are some of the most popular game fish found in lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron.

Yellow Perch:Yellow perch spend most of their lives in the shallow water areas of lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie. These fish are brown to olive green with light speckles on their sides. Their mouths are filled with small sharp teeth perfect for catching smaller fish to eat.

Yellow cisco: The yellow cisco is a deep-water fish found in Lake Superior. Its name comes from its color, which is yellowish. It likes shallower waters than the lake trout, but deeper water than other fish in Lake Superior. Its mouth has very small teeth that help it catch squid and plankton.

Ruffe: The ruffe is a species of perch that lives on the bottoms of lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan. They are olive green colored with yellowish-brown stripes on the sides. They have large pectoral fins that help them side along the lake bottom to catch small fish for food.

Burbot: The burbot is a catfish-like fish found in Lake Superior, having long whiskers on its chin. They are olive-colored with yellowish sides and white bellies. The burbot is one of the deepest living fish in Lake Superior, found at depths up to 1500 meters.

Human Impact On The Lakes

The multiple uses of the lakes are often conflicting. The shipping and hydroelectric-power industries favour higher water levels, for example, but property owners along the shoreline find that high levels increase erosion of the shoreline. Conservationists believe that the diversion of treated sewage away from the lakes, such as is being done at Chicago and various other cities, is the best solution for maintaining the quality of the lake waters. Regardless of the approach that is taken, it is clear that changes have occurred in the plant and animal life of the lakes and that these changes have been related to increases in the content of introduced chemicals, depletion of dissolved oxygen in some places, and the accumulation of sewage sludge on lake bottoms near urban areas.

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Green Bay Lake Michigan Wi

Blessed with incredibly abundant waters, Green Bay offers a year-round variety of fish anglers just cant say no to. With Fox River and its tributaries flowing right through town, it wont take you long to find a spot to wet your line.

This is a fantastic Smallmouth Bass fishery, and the big rivers tributaries are known for their Walleye bites. Of course, theres also great reel action out in the Bay. In this part of Lake Michigan, youll have your hands full with Muskies and Perch.

Originally set up as a French trading post in the 1700s, Green Bay is one of the oldest permanent European settlements in America.

Today, Green Bay is a multi-cultural town, offering a wealth of attractions for people from all walks of life. Families will love the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, a 600-acre refuge with picture-perfect nature and dozens of exciting animals to see.

Downtown, a 150-year-old house will welcome you to some of the best wine tasting youll ever experience. The locals are happy to tell you how good the wines go with some of the best cheeses Wisconsin has to offer. But thats not it the town has a proud cultural scene, too. Green Bays Meyer Theatre is an ornate performance hall capable of housing a thousand people. The venue hosts a number of live concerts and theatre plays year round.

‘forever Chemicals’ In Great Lakes Fish More Risky Than Pfas In Drinking Water Study Says

Dangerous Fish In Great Lakes

MADISON – The levels of “forever chemicals” found in fish harvested from the Great Lakes are much higher than in commercially raised fish, according to a new study.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the Environmental Research journal, found that consuming freshwater fish harvested from urban areas 12 times per year could more than triple the level of PFOS one of the most well-known and researched PFAS compounds in residents of the U.S.

One serving of locally caught freshwater fish could be equivalent to drinking water with PFOS at 48 parts per trillion for a month, researchers said. Last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency released guidance that humans shouldn’t consume more than 0.02 parts per trillion of the compounds.

“Finding contaminants in fish isn’t new, but talking about PFAS, not a lot of attention has been paid to that,” said Tasha Stoiber, one of the researchers from the Environmental Working Group.

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The research, she said, points to the vulnerability of surface waters to PFAS pollution and shows how the compounds found in humans aren’t just coming from drinking water, but their diet as well.

“It’s a bit shocking and hard to digest this information,” she said. “But the contamination is widespread and it’s important to talk about that.”

The study shows that consuming fish harvested from freshwater must now be thought about differently.

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List Of Types Of Fish Found In The Great Lakes

Because of their size, they have a major impact on life around them. The lakes are home to many different kinds of fish, some unique to the Great Lakes. The most common type of fish found in the great lakes is salmon, trout, and bass. There are also unique creatures like sturgeon, lake whitefish, and smelt.

Chinook Salmon 3086 Lbs

©Kevin Cass/

Chinook salmon, which originated on the Pacific and Arctic coasts, was brought to all of the Great Lakes. This salmon species is the largest among the Pacific salmon, reaching 35 inches in length and weighing 30.86 pounds . While salmon populations in the Great Lakes have had a shaky past, permanent coho and chinook numbers were developed during the mid and late 1960s, when over 20 million were supplied.

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Great Lakes States Angler Demographics

Each year, approximately 1.8 million recreational anglers fish the Great Lakes. Millions more fish inland lakes and streams across the Upper Great Lakes region. Anglers play a critical role affecting the regions fisheries, their related ecosystems, and fisheries management practices and policies. However, a growing body of research suggests that anglers across the Upper Midwest are declining in number and aging, which could have dramatic implications for agency funding, habitat programs, and fisheries policy and management strategies.

This website brings together detailed demographic data on the angler population across the five US states that border the Upper Great Lakes . It includes data and analysis at both the state-level and the lake-level for each of the Upper Lakes. Supported by funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, researchers in the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University partnered with representatives of each states Department of Natural Resources to pull together consistent data that can be compared across states/lakes, by sex , and by single-year of age over time.

These data are available for public download here. We hope that users, from fisheries managers to fishing club members and charter boat captains to researchers and anglers themselves, will find these reports, maps, and data useful for understanding how angler populations are changing over time and how they might be expected to change further in the coming years.

Brook Trout 6 To 7 Lbs Can Grow To 15 Lbs

Great Lakes Salmon Fishing


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The brook trout, commonly known as the speckled trout, is a fascinating fish with remarkable yellow spots on an olive-green back. The freshwater fishs color changes from olive to orange or red down its flanks, with dispersed red spots rimmed by pale blue. A brook trout typically weighs 6 lbs and measures 9.8 inches long. The brook trout is Michigans state fish since it is native to the states lakes.

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Best Great Lakes Fishing Towns In The Us

The Great Lakes are among the worlds most impressive natural marvels. Their shores are dotted with charming little towns and dazzling views. Whether its a relaxing retreat or an adventure of a lifetime, the Great Lakes have you covered. Speaking of adventure, these vast waters are also home to some of the most spectacular reel action on the continent. With that in mind, weve put together a list featuring the best Great Lakes fishing towns in the US.

For our list, we picked the towns that will put you on some hard-biting fish, while also giving you ample activities to choose from. Seriously, these places will put some Caribbean paradises to shame. In no particular order, our picks for the best Great Lakes fishing towns are:

A Healthy Local Choice

Most fish are a healthy food choice. Theyre packed with high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, 90 percent of the seafood sold in Michigan is imported from other countries. Buying fish caught in the Great Lakes is an important way to support local commercial fishing operations and markets while reducing your carbon footprint.

Looking for inspiration? Michigan Sea Grant has two great sources of Great Lakes seafood recipes, cooking tips, and more:

Freshwater Feasts is a cooking blog dedicated to Great Lakes cooking at its best. The posts feature easy, delicious recipes from Michigan Sea Grant staff and partners, as well as preparation tips, restaurant discoveries, and more.

With Michigans Catch and Cook program, charter fishing clients can step off the boat and have their fresh catch transformed into a tasty meal at a local restaurant. Before you hit the water for your next charter excursion, check the Catch and Cook website for participating charter boats and restaurants.

The Michigan Seafood Summit brings together commercial and tribal fishers, chefs, natural resources managers, aquaculture producers, and seafood vendors to explore the present and future of local Great Lakes seafood. Presentation sessions are followed by a special Michigan seafood dinner prepared by acclaimed chefs.

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