In April of 1966 no one expected that an out-of-the-box fisheries management idea would accelerate Michigan’s fishing reputation and effectively change the face of the state’s sportfishing industry. But that was the case – and after thousands of coho salmon (the first of several Pacific salmon species to be reared and stocked in Michigan) were stocked in the Platte River a booming industry was born.
A celebratory event commemorating that fateful activity was recently held at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah to remember the past 50 years and to recognize one of the individuals responsible for making it all happen – former DNR Director and Fisheries Division Chief Dr. Howard Tanner.
Michigan’s salmon program was developed in an effort to address the decline in lake trout (previously the top Great Lakes predator) and to control an exploding alewife population. Although the state’s salmon fishery has changed over time it continues to provide excellent fishing opportunities to anglers and exposes the numerous other on-the-water experiences available to those who pursue them, i.e. bass, yellow perch, steelhead and others.
Following the remarks all those in attendance paid the hatchery’s weir a visit while thousands of fingerling coho salmon were released into the Platte River.
“Our long history with Pacific salmon is part of the reason Michigan’s fisheries are known as world-class,” said Jim Dexter. “It’s exciting to look back on the past 50 years rearing and stocking these fish and imagining where the next 50 years will take us.”
Want to learn more about fisheries management in Michigan? Visit michigan.gov/fishing.