Great Lakes Muskie eggs are currently collected from the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. These fish will be raised at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan and Thompson State Fish Hatchery near Manistique and stocked in Michigan waters this fall.
In 2021, approximately 232,000 eggs were collected from the Detroit River. These eggs produced nearly 30,000 fall fry which were stocked in 19 inland lakes and rivers. No muskellunge are stocked in the Detroit River because the abundant population of Lake St. Clair-Detroit River muskellunge is supported entirely by natural reproduction.
“DNR’s goal this year is to collect at least 400,000 eggs to meet our goal of 40,000 fall fry for our state’s water storage,” said Ed Eisch, DNR’s director of fish production. .
To collect the eggs, mature muskellunge are captured with electrofishing gear in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. Collecting Great Lakes muskellunge is difficult in these areas due to the physical conditions associated with open water, especially in the spring.
As a safety precaution, the DNR asks boats on the water to avoid approaching the electrofishing boat during nighttime shock work.
“When the generator is running and the boat lights are on, we are collecting fish using the electricity near the boat and we want to make sure that the public stays away from the electric field for safety reasons” said Jim Francis, MNR’s Lake Erie Basin Coordinator. . “Fish captured for egg collection efforts are released unharmed after being handled by hatchery staff.”
To learn more about fishing in Michigan and muskellunge management efforts in the Great Lakes, go to Michigan.gov/Fishing.