- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LEXINGTON, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking to Atlantic salmon to help boost the fish population in Lake Huron, where the population of Chinook salmon has dwindled, officials said.

About 19,500 were deposited Tuesday into Lexington State Harbor, about 70 miles northeast of Detroit, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported (http://bwne.ws/1gnmIxH ). They join about 60,000 stocked in the Thunder Bay and AuSable rivers.

Jim Baker, manager of the southern Lake Huron fisheries management unit, said 2014 is the second year that the state has stocked Atlantic salmon in the harbor. Lexington State Harbor received about 5,000 more Atlantic salmon than it did last year.

The stocking is experimental as a replacement for Chinook salmon, Baker said. Officials plan to track the fish to see whether the effort succeeds.


“We’re having to try many new things in Lake Huron in order to maintain our cold-water fishery because the food web has changed so dramatically,” Baker said.

“We’re having to look at new species to help fill the void left by the Chinook,” he said.

For years Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie has successfully stocked salmon in the St. Marys River, which connects Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron. The DNR hopes to replicate the university’s success in the southern part of Lake Huron.

Jerry Romanowski was among those who turned out Tuesday, watching the 6-inch Atlantic salmon dance across the water. Romanowski, a director of the Flint River Valley Steelheaders, drove from Lapeer to set off small fireworks to scare birds hoping to eat the fish.

“It’s important for the fishermen,” he said. “Fishing brings a lot of money into Michigan, a ton of money.”

___

Information from: Times Herald, http://www.thetimesherald.com