DNR News: Jaw-tagged fish, Stamp & Go Guide, summer fire safety

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News Digest - Week of May 20, 2019

young women sitting in chairs around a campfire ring, roasting marshmallows

Summer's coming ... get ready for good times with good friends at Michigan state parks and campgrounds

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of some of the images used below are available in this folder.

Keep fire safety in mind during summer activities

a woman pouring water on a campfire in a ringed fire pit

The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial start of summer fun in Michigan, complete with campfires, cookouts, fireworks and other outdoor activities.

But spring and summer also are key times for wildfires in Michigan, and most of these are started accidentally by people. So far in 2019, the DNR has fought more than 140 wildfires on nearly 800 acres around the state.

“Just a little bit of precaution and planning can reduce the risk of fires and keep outdoor activities fun and safe,” said Paul Rogers, a DNR fire prevention specialist. “Michigan’s late spring this year means that some trees and plants are still in a dry winter state, and more likely to burn when hit by a stray spark or ember.”

The DNR’s new fire safety page, available in the Safety Information section of the DNR’s Michigan.gov/DNREducation webpage, offers tips on:

  • Campfire safety. Always douse your fire thoroughly with water before leaving it.
  • Debris burning. You need to get a permit to burn debris at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or by phone at 866-922-2876 if you live in the northern Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula. People in other locations should check with local municipalities. Keep your fire at least 10 feet away from logs, stumps or other debris and make sure no branches are hanging overhead.
  • Firewise landscaping. This type of landscaping protects your home or cabin by minimizing the number of shrubs, leaves and trees that are close to the house. You can learn more about Firewise landscaping from the National Fire Protection Association.

Questions? Contact Paul Rogers, 616-260-8406.

Reel in a marked or tagged fish? Let us know

side view illustration of a chinook salmon

If you fish the Great Lakes and catch a marked and tagged fish, the DNR wants to know. Since the 1980s, the DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to mass mark various trout and salmon species in Michigan. Mass marking provides critical data as fisheries biologists assess the value of naturally reproduced versus stocked fish, as well as lakewide fish movement.

The program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish with a coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed.

Anglers who catch these tagged fish can then record needed information (like where and when the fish was caught, details from the tag, and the species, length and weight of the fish), remove and freeze the fish’s snout and drop it off at designated locations. A statewide list of drop-off locations is available on the DNR website.

The DNR, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state agencies, places coded-wire tags in the snout and removes the adipose fin from lake trout, rainbow trout (steelhead) and chinook and Atlantic salmon stocked in lakes Huron and Michigan.

Learn more about the DNR’s mass marking efforts at Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.

Questions? Contact John Clevenger, 231-547-2914 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

New Stamp & Go Guide a fun way to log state park, hatchery visits

stamp & go guide

Inspired by this year’s state parks centennial celebration, the DNR has released an all-new Stamp & Go Guide to help visitors log and plan their visits to state parks and hatcheries all over Michigan.

The guide features photos and descriptions of each state park and fish hatchery, maps, kid-friendly activities and more.

Visitors can get their guides stamped at more than 100 locations. Stop by campground offices or check with local facility staff to find out where guides are being stamped.

You can pick up a guide at most Michigan state parks and recreation areas or at the Oden and Wolf Lake state fish hatchery visitor centers for just $5. Guides purchased during 2019 (the state parks centennial year) will include a special gold commemorative sticker.

Looking for ideas on where to start? Check out Places to Go on the DNR website Michigan.gov/DNR and explore your options for state parks, state fish hatcheries and other great destinations. For more state parks centennial information – including special events, podcasts, historical stories, videos, a geocaching tour and more – visit Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Questions? Contact Ami Van Antwerp, 517-927-5059 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

Creel clerks to collect angler information this summer

A female creel clerk holds a large fish attached to a scale, beach in the background

As this year’s open-water fishing season gets underway, anglers at many lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports may encounter DNR fisheries staff collecting data about their fishing experiences.

DNR creel clerks are stationed at boat launches and piers around the state asking anglers questions as they return from fishing trips. Information will be requested on trip length, target species and number and type of fish caught. In some cases, the clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and to take scales or other body parts for aging – data that is key to helping the DNR manage state fisheries.

“The information we gather from anglers helps us get a clearer picture about fish health, movement and population trends throughout Michigan,” said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Claramunt. “We really appreciate anglers taking a few minutes to talk with us.”

These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program that estimates the amount of time people spend fishing and how many of each species of fish are caught and kept or released in Michigan waters. This is one of the most comprehensive angler survey programs in the country, with DNR creel clerks interviewing upward of 50,000 anglers in most years.

Information about where creel clerks are stationed and the data they collect is available on the DNR website or by calling Tracy Claramunt, 517-282-2887 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

ICYMI: Hartwick Pines Memorial Building tours start up this weekend

An early view of the historic Memorial Building at Hartwick Pines

After being closed to the public for nearly a quarter-century, visitors this weekend to Hartwick Pines State Park, in Grayling, can get a look at the completed first-phase renovations at the park's landmark Memorial Building. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 24, Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, guests can enjoy guided tours to get the inside information about the history of the park and building. In case you missed it, the Michigan History Center recently shared the story of this beloved Michigan destination and the partnership that is driving the work happening there:

From 1929 to 1995, visitors to Hartwick Pines State Park entered through a large, two-story “log cabin” located just steps from M-93. Called the “Memorial Building” to honor Grayling native and lumberman Edward Hartwick, who died in World War I, it provided a grand introduction to the park’s pristine natural landscape. Generations of visitors marveled at the large stone fireplace, climbed stairs to see exhibits on the mezzanine and took in views of the park’s old growth forest from its wide porch. ..."

Read the full story here.


Fresh produce, baked goods and local crafts; enjoy this and more Sunday at Cambridge Junction Historic State Park's first farmers market of the season – one of the largest in southeast Michigan.


Interested in boosting your chances for elk, bear, spring and fall turkey and antlerless deer hunting licenses? Get in this year's Pure Michigan Hunt drawing for just $5 an application.  


Unique volunteer opportunity: Sturgeon For Tomorrow is looking for more people to help (especially this week through June 8) with its annual sturgeon guarding effort on the Black River. 

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