Trout and salmon are common fish caught in Lake Michigan. However, what do you really know about these species? Read on for some facts about these two species, such as what and how much they eat, numbers/population control, breeding & lifespan, along with some random fun facts!
While hatcheries do release some salmon into Lake Michigan, around 53% of all salmon caught in Wisconsin waters are wild. Lake trout are not managed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). While this government agency does breed lake trout in hatcheries, it does not have a role in determining the number of lake trout in Lake Michigan. Both Trout and salmon stocking of Lake Michigan has been declining since 2015.
Both salmon & trout feed on alewife (a species of herring found in North America). However, this popular food has been dwindling in recent years. But, other food options are always available in the open waters of Lake Michigan.
Lake trout eat less prey fish than chinook salmon. According to the Michigan DNR, it is found that lake trout’s consumption of prey fish was 23.1 kt (kiloton) in 2015; chinook salmon’s was higher at 33.1 kt. It has been found that salmon also eat more alewife than trout. It is thought that the salmon’s diet consists of about 95% (30kt) alewife, compared to that of the trouts 60% (14kt) or less.
An interesting fact about salmon & trout are that they can cross-breed with one another and produce hybrid fish. However, this is not a very common occurrence in the wild.
A few facts about salmon:
Salmon are anadromous. This means that they are born in freshwater, migrate to saltwater and then return to freshwater for spawning.
Salmon have orange meat.
Salmon have been popular in mythology.
A salmon’s last act before they die is to spawn.
Salmon are also one of the keystone species in Northwest America, this means that the ecosystem is dependent upon them and if they were to become extinct, it would greatly impact the environment around them.
A few facts about trout:
Brown trout can lay up to 900 eggs per pound of body weight.
Trout can reach the age of 20, however, the majority die before their first birthday.
Trout that migrate from lakes to rivers to spawn are known as potamodromous.
Trout can change color depending upon how aggressive/submissive they are at the time, as well as their habitat and surroundings.
Trout do not have scales for the first month of their lives.
It is thought that the best time to catch trout is just before an environmental disturbance, like a storm, as trout respond to sudden changes in their environment by feeding heavily.
The captains at Jack’s Charter Service have over 50 years of combined charter fishing experience and are well versed on information about fish in addition to where and how to catch them. Call us to today to schedule your own Racine area charter fishing adventure and find out more facts for yourself!