Lake Superior Chinook Salmon Reproduction

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Michigan’s Lake Superior Chinook salmon fishery is being fueled almost entirely from natural reproduction, according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Data show more than 99 percent of the Lake Superior Chinook salmon caught by anglers are wild.

All 1.5 million Chinook salmon stocked in Lake Superior since 2012 have received adipose fin clips via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mass marking program, making it easy to distinguish which fish are either wild or of hatchery origin.

The percentage of fish that are wild is derived from the ratio of unclipped versus clipped Chinook salmon examined by DNR creel clerks. These percentages have been very high for three years running, lending increased confidence to the finding.

An average of around 3,000 Chinook salmon are caught yearly by sport anglers in Lake Superior. This ranks this species as the third highest to be sustained by natural reproduction in this water body, following lake trout and coho salmon.

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source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources