Fall fishing opportunities on Trail Creek in northwestern Indiana should improve thanks to a change in how the sea lamprey barrier on that stream operates.
The seasonal modification to the LaPorte County barrier will make it easier for salmon and steelhead trout to move upstream, while still blocking the invasive sea lamprey, according to DNR Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert.
“Anglers should be excited about this change,” Breidert said.
The change involves the lower end of the fishway, also known as a fish ladder. From roughly Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 each year, the lower end will operate as a pool and weir fishway, while the upper end still will be maintained as a vertical slot, with removable trapping equipment.
The change was carried out by the Indiana DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with cooperation from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a Canadian/US treaty organization responsible for the sea lamprey control program.
The change also will reduce the time spent by DNR staff to trap fish, evaluate them, and then transfer them back to the stream during the salmon run.
Selective fall trapping still will be used as a management tool to collect biological data during fall and to help Lake Michigan fisheries staff gauge the strength and timing of salmon and steelhead runs. Trapping is also necessary during spring and summer to remove upstream migrating sea lamprey and to collect Skamania steelhead broodstock, which provide for the future of the skamania fishery.
Sea lampreys are a pest in the Great Lakes. They are native to the Atlantic Ocean and made their way into the Great Lakes in the early 1900s via the St. Lawrence Seaway. An adult sea lamprey can kill more than 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime.
“Sea lampreys are incredibly destructive and must be controlled,” said Bob Hecky, chairman of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. “The billion dollar Lake Michigan fishery depends on effective sea lamprey barriers like the one on Trail Creek.”
Name: Brian Breidert
Phone: (219) 874-6824