DNR News: Arctic grayling update, walleye stocking, hunting field days

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News Digest - Week of July 29, 2019

side view of an Arctic grayling held in someone's hand, over a rocky riverbed

The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative is about to hit an important milestone! 

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Michigan 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 the images used below, and additional ones, are available in this folder.

UV system in place, Oden hatchery readies for Arctic grayling

Juvenile Arctic grayling

Michigan is one step closer to bringing Arctic grayling back to state waters. The ultraviolet water disinfection system at Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County has been installed, meaning the facility is ready to welcome juvenile Arctic grayling. 

“With the completion of this project, we can protect the fish populations in the inland waterway – the series of rivers and inland lakes that the rearing water flows into – from any pathogens that may inadvertently arrive with these fish,” said Ed Eisch, the DNR’s fish production manager. “We don’t anticipate any issues, but we definitely want to err on the conservative side when it comes to the possibility of introducing new pathogens.”

The UV system is critical for the long-term process of cultivating Michigan’s Arctic grayling broodstock (mature fish used for breeding), a goal of the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative. 

This project was generously supported through grants and donations by private donors. More than $350,000 was raised to upgrade Oden’s isolated rearing facility, including engineering and construction costs. 

Major gifts were granted by the Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Trout Unlimited, the DNR, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Oleson Foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed and supporters of the Little Traverse Conservancy.

The Arctic grayling will arrive at Oden State Fish Hatchery in early August. These fish were collected as eggs in Alaska in May and have been housed at Michigan State University since their arrival in the state. This is the first in a series of three year classes of fish that will make up the founding broodstock for the Arctic grayling effort.

The juvenile fish will be reared in isolation at Oden and, once cleared by fish health testing, transferred to Marquette State Fish Hatchery to continue maturing. 

Learn more about the initiative at MiGrayling.org or contact Ed Eisch, 231-922-6056 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

Hunting season is coming; take an online hunter safety class now

Firearm safety - field day

Fall is on the way – that means bow, trapping and waterfowl seasons are quickly approaching. Don’t wait for opening day; register now for a hunter safety education course. These courses are available in either a traditional classroom setting or an online program. The online program is great for busy hunters who want to learn but need a flexible schedule to complete the course at their own pace, followed by a single-session field day.

“The online course, followed by the field day, is becoming the most popular method of hunter safety, as it allows the student to learn independently and then receive hands-on instruction,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, DNR conservation officer.

The online program requires participants to preregister for a field day, available year-round. Anyone looking for a head start on the hunting season is invited to check out the following field days, which will be instructed by DNR conservation officers:

  • Aug. 4, Mio
    Huron National Forest Mio Ranger Station
    7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Registration ends Friday, Aug. 2
    Questions? Contact Carrie DeVault, 989-275-5151
  • Aug. 4, Bay City
    Saginaw Bay Visitor Center
    8 a.m. - noon
    Registration ends Friday, Aug. 2
    Questions? Contact Amber Frye, 989-684-9141
  • Aug.  10, Brighton
    Livingston Conservation & Sports Association
    8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Registration ends Friday, Aug. 9
    Questions? Contact George Shaw, 517-618-7698
  • Aug. 17, Detroit
    DNR Outdoor Adventure Center
    9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    Registration ends Friday, Aug. 16
    Questions? Contact Rick Phillips, 734-756-3589, ext. 1

Learn more about hunter safety education or search for classes by county by visiting Michigan.gov/RecreationalSafety.

Over 450,000 walleye fingerlings stocked in Bays de Noc

walleye fingerlings in a net

The Bays de Noc recently received a much-needed boost – 464,800 walleye fingerlings – through collaborative stocking efforts by the DNR, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen.

After Little Bay de Noc’s spring ice-out (when all the surface ice broke up), DNR crews conducted an egg take on adult walleye. Those eggs were transferred to the Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Manistique. A portion of that egg batch later was moved to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe hatchery.

After hatching, the larval walleye were moved to ponds operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe and the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen.

The Sport Fishermen ponds yielded 329,600 fingerlings that were stocked July 1-9 in northern Little Bay de Noc near the mouth of the Whitefish River and Kipling.

closeup view of walleye fingerling

The Sault Tribe pond produced 135,200 fish that were stocked July 3 near Gladstone, Kipling and the lower Escanaba River.

“Working together with the DNR allows us to combine resources which complement each other, to increase the number of walleye fingerlings destined for the Bays de Noc,” said Rusty Aikens, fisheries enhancement coordinator for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Support from local organizations is critical to the DNR’s walleye stocking efforts.

“Partnering with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe and the Bays de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen in rearing and stocking is an extremely valuable component of our walleye management program in the Upper Peninsula,” said Darren Kramer, the DNR’s Northern Lake Michigan unit manager. “These efforts allow us to enhance the world-class fishing opportunities available for anglers in the area.”

For more information on where and when walleye fingerlings were stocked, go to MichiganDNR.com/FishStock.

Questions? Contact Darren Kramer, 906-786-2351 or Rusty Aikens, 906-632-6132.

ICYMI: MI Birds programs happening around the state

closeup view of a Baltimore oriole

Michigan’s birds are some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures to observe outdoors. With the MI Birds program, citizens easily can get involved in local events like bird talks, bird walks and more. In case you missed it, check out these upcoming events to get started on your own MI Birds journey.

Founded by Audubon Great Lakes and the DNR, MI Birds seeks to deepen all Michiganders’ understanding, care and stewardship of public lands important for birds and local communities. Keep up with all things MI Birds by following the group's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or visiting GL.Audubon.org/MIBirds.


If you're looking to add some art to your life, visit the Belle Isle Art Fair Aug. 3-4, featuring the artwork and insights of more than 100 artists from 20 states.


Planning a rustic camping experience in Michigan state forests? Make sure you have a camp registration card before you go.


Interested in sharing the stories of Michigan's people and places? There are plenty of great ways to be a part of the Michigan History Center Volunteer Program.

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