BY MARCY MISNER
Fisheries biologists and technicians from Northern Michigan and Ontario are counting fish this month in the St. Mary’s River. They’re hoping to get a snapshot of the various species in the river system.
Biologists said the survey is necessary to manage fish communities, which, so far, have remained stable in this popular fishing destination.
The biologists are collecting fish as part of a broad study of cold water fish populations in the St. Mary’s River.
With the smell of fresh fish in the air and the sound of the river and cars passing outside a fish cleaning station in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday, DNR biologist Neal Godby explained what they found in their assigned area, Munuscong Lake.
“We found a pretty good diversity. Lots of small yellow perch, rock bass and small mouth bass, northern pike. We saw one small muskie and four small lake sturgeon, about in the 20-36 inch range,” Godby said.
The St. Mary’s river is geographically a small part of Lake Huron waters, but recreationally, it’s huge. It sees 36% of total sport fishing for the watershed.
DNR Biologists said the surveys will inform critical decisions related to: sport fish regulations, fish stocking, and shared fisheries across state, tribal and national boundaries.
International cooperation in the study may lead to more streamlined sport fishing regulations in the future.