Monday, January 10, 2011

a recent survey of lake michigan's forage base

This was an article I came across while reading Illinois Outdoor News discussing recent improvements to Lake Michigan’s forage base. They report smelt and alewife populations have shown tremendous improvements over last year but also go on to explain the impact made from an invasive species such as the zebra mussels. Even though there was an increase in survey numbers over last year, they put in perspective really how much the populations have suffered. “Click Here” and read the full article.

the lake michigan alewife
There is a constant struggle going on between baitfish populations and filter feeders such as the zebra mussels. They are competing for food at its most basic level in the form of algae. This is a delicate battle where no winner has been crowned yet. I would be happy to see some sort of happy medium reached where the populations seem to stabilize but who knows if that truce will ever come. As I see things, we should be happy to see any improvements to the available baitfish populations and hopefully it means some bigger salmon in the upcoming years.

zebra mussel


  1. Invasive species will always be a concern to sportsmen and DNRs. On Lake Simcoe, Ontario, zebra mussels have cleared the water to the extent that most smallmouth are now caught in 40 - 60 feet of water. Round Gobies were expected to wipe up the egg scattering spawners, 8" perch pulled through the ice this year are full of gobies! Rainbow smelt were an invasive species on this lake in the late 50's & are now the main forage for lake trout, whitefish etc. Lets hope something develops an appetite for mussels, maybe carp.