A crowd of about 40 people gathered along the walking bridge in Ludington State Park Wednesday to watch as members of the Ludington Charter Boat Association and the Fisheries Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources released more than 40,000 coho salmon into the Sable River.
“A total of 40,000 fish,” said Paul Stowe, Natural Resources Manager. “Five thousand were being acclimated in the net pen, the reason we brought the fish today is because the fish in the pen have been there for two weeks, they have been fed for two weeks and that we help improve their homing.”
Stowe said we are trying to create a return fishery in the Ludington area and the Big Sable River here.
Stowe said the Fisheries Division would normally direct stock most of their coho salmon across the state with good returns.
“We were contacted by the LCBA who have net pens or acclamation pens, from when Chinook salmon were stocked in the river. The group wanted to use the pens for coho,” Stowe said. “We have not done this anywhere in the state before. It is kind of like a pilot project for coho. The fish are not tagged or there is not an official study going on, but we do hope to do that in the future.”
Stowe said the reason the direct stock fish and the net pen fish all at the same time is because of the numbers.
“There are strength in numbers,” He said.
Also on Wednesday, the LCBA held a short christening ceremony for the group’s newest row boat which was named the SS George Freeman on Wednesday.
“It surprised me. I do not know what to say about it to be honest with you,” he said. “It makes me feel good.”
Freeman said he has spent a lot of years on this program but he is the first to give credit to many who have put a lot of energy into the project to continue to provide a sustainable fishery for this area.