Surveys on Michigan’s lakes and streams are underway in parts of the state, all part of the state’s annual effort to collect data to best manage fishery resources.

Michigan’s 10,000 lakes and 36,000 miles of streams are ripe with data, say officials Michigan Department of Natural Resources, but the department only has enough staff to perform about 250 to 300 surveys a year.

Jay Wesley, DNR fisheries division Lake Michigan basin coordinator, said DNR teams completed more than 260 fisheries surveys across Michigan in 2021. DNR fisheries staff surveyed 152 inland lakes and 115 streams. 

Wesley said the surveys revealed that about 80% of the state’s lakes and streams have healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish.

Jerry Perrin, of Au Gres, carries a 47-inch sturgeon he caught as one of six successful fishermen during the 2022 sturgeon season on Black Lake north of Onaway, as Jenny Olsen, co-host and producer of television program Michigan Out of Doors, records him Feb. 5, 2022.

The surveys, which are underway in southern Michigan and start in May in the Upper Peninsula, are useful for tracking inland fisheries populations, evaluating if stocking increases angler opportunities or addressing concerns from anglers throughout the year, Wesley said.

“The management units stepped up last year and safely conducted these surveys to evaluate if management actions, like fish stocking or habitat improvement projects, had the desired effect,” Wesley said. “Surveys help us understand whether or not our management actions resulted in better recreational fishing in certain areas or improved a lake’s overall health.”

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