Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trout Stocking in McCoy Creek, Berrien County, Michigan

The little information I have found to date on the origin of trout stocking in McCoy Creek indicates that Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were being stocked as early as 1931, Brook Trout (Salveninus fontinalis) as early as 1945, and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) as early as 1955 (Wesley and Duffy 1999).

In actuality, it is likely that trout of several species were being transplanted into McCoy Creek much earlier than the dates listed above. For example, the first Rainbow Trout transplant in the State of Michigan was in the mid-1870s. "Prior to that time the rainbow was a total stranger to Michigan waters and was entirely absent throughout the east and middle west" (Bower 1909).

The first reported planting of Brook Trout in Berrien County occurred in March or April 1879 when a release was made in Blue Creek, and additional fry were planted at unspecified locations in Berrien County the following year (Anonymous 1925).

The Brown Trout, an exotic species from Europe and western Asia, was imported to the United States from Germany in 1883 and stocked in Michigan's Pere Marquette River by the U.S. Fish Commission (Fuller 2009).

Fish stocking efforts by the (then) Michigan Department of Conservation expanded rapidly in the early decades of the 20th century as evidenced by the stocking of 60.9 million Brook Trout, 23.7 million Brown Trout, and 15.8 million Rainbow Trout in Michigan's inland waters between 1926 and 1932 (Michigan Department of Conservation 1929, 1932).

Since 1979, intentional releases of trout into McCoy Creek have been restricted to a single species, the Brown Trout. The information summarized below is from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Fish Stocking Database, which covers the period from 1979-2009.

(1) By Year of Release: The number of fish stocked each year ranged from a low of 1,900 (1979) to a high of 4,490 (1988), with a median annual release of 3,110. Over a 31-year period (1979-2009), a total of 99,122 fish were released into the stream.
  • 1979 – 1,900 (n=2 release sites)
  • 1980 – 2,500 (n=2)
  • 1981 – 2,700 (n=5)
  • 1982 – 3,050 (n=5)
  • 1983 – 3,480 (n=5)
  • 1984 – 3,600 (n=5)
  • 1985 – 2,810 (n=5)
  • 1986 – 3,130 (n=5)
  • 1987 – 3,340 (n=5)
  • 1988 – 4,490 (n=5)
  • 1989 – 4,300 (n=5)
  • 1990 – 4,296 (n=5)
  • 1991 – 4,360 (n=5)
  • 1992 – 4,190 (n=5)
  • 1993 – 3,287 (n=5)
  • 1994 – 3,470 (n=5)
  • 1995 – 3,101 (n=4)
  • 1996 – 3,300 (n=5)
  • 1997 – 3,548 (n=5)
  • 1998 – 3,240 (n=5)
  • 1999 – 2,700 (n=4)
  • 2000 – 3,110 (n=4)
  • 2001 – 2,750 (n=4)
  • 2002 – 2,740 (n=4)
  • 2003 – 2,700 (n=4)
  • 2004 – 2,900 (n=4)
  • 2005 – 2,700 (n=4)
  • 2006 – 3,030 (n=4)
  • 2007 – 2,550 (n=4)
  • 2008 – 2,700 (n=4)
  • 2009 – 3,150 (n=4)
  • (2) By Location of Release: Fish were released at 5 different locations along the course of McCoy Creek in Buchanan (T7s,, R18W) and Bertrand (T8S, R18W) townships.
  • T7S R18W Sec. 25 (Buchanan) – 22,958 (=30 years)
  • T7S R18W Sec. 34 (Bakertown Road)– 21,007 (n=30)
  • T8S R18W Sec. 03 (U.S. 12) – 23,448 (n=30)
  • T8S R18W Sec. 09 (Buffalo Road) – 20,163 (n=29)
  • T8S R18W Sec. 16 (Curran Road) – 12,346 (n=18)
  • (3) By Strain of Fish: Fish representing at least 7 different strains of Brown Trout were released into McCoy Creek, with the Gilchrist Creek, Wild Rose, and Plymouth Rock strains accounting for 19.9, 19.2, and 16.5 percent of the fish stocked, respectively.
  • Gilchrist Creek – 19,730 (n=7 years, 2003-2009)
  • Harrietta – 13,970 (n=5, 1981-1985)
  • Plymouth Rock – 16,327 (n=4, 1988, 1991-1993)
  • Saint Croix – 3,470 (n=1, 1994)
  • Seeforellen – 8,560 (n=3, 1999-2001)
  • Soda Lake – 8,596 (n=2, 1989-1990)
  • Wild Rose – 19,059 (n=6, 1986, 1995-1998, 2002)
  • Not specified – 9,410 (n=4, 1979-1980, 1985, 1987)
  • (4) By Date of Release: Release dates range from March 16 (1979) to May 2 (2007), with a median date of April 1.
  • March 10-20 – 5,380 (n=2 years)
  • March 21-30 – 36,646 (n=11)
  • April 1-10 – 29,377 (n=9)
  • April 11-20 – 14,751 (n=4)
  • April 21-31 – 10,418 (n=4)
  • May 1-10 – 2,550 (n=1)
  • (5) By Size at Time of Release: Fish ranged in size from 4.2 inches to 7.6 inches, with a median of 6.0 inches at the time of release.
  • 4.0-4.9 inches – 8,550 (n=13 releases)
  • 5.0-5.9 inches – 39,876 (n=54)
  • 6.0-6.9 inches – 42,306 (n=57)
  • 7.0-7.0 inches – 8,390 (n=13)
  • References:

    Anonymous. 1925. Notes on the Brook Trout in Michigan (.pdf). Michigan Department of Conservation, 4 pp. URL:
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/Notes-History-brook-trout_275552_7.pdf

    Bower, Seymour. 1909. The Rainbow Trout in Michigan (.pdf). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society [reprint], 13 pp. URL:
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/RainbowTrout1909_272427_7.pdf

    Fuller, Pam. 2009. Salmo trutta [Brown Trout] Fact Sheet. In Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. U.S. Geological Survey, Gainesville, Florida. URL:
    http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=931

    Michigan Department of Conservation. 1929. Fourth Biennial Report of the Fisheries Division, 1927-1928 (.pdf). 35 pp. URL:
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/Department-Conservation-4th-Biennial-Report_274789_7.pdf

    Michigan Department of Conservation. 1933. Fifth Biennial Report of the Fisheries Division, 1929-1930 (.pdf). Pp. 139-164. URL:
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/Department-Conservation-5th-Biennial-Report_274791_7.pdf

    Wesley, Jay K. and Joan E. Duffy. 1999. St. Joseph River Assessment. Appendix 2 (.pdf). Miscellaneous historical creel data. Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Fisheries Report 24: 117-129. URL:
    http://www.michigandnr.com/PUBLICATIONS/PDFS/ifr/ifrlibra/special/reports/sr24/sr24App2.pdf

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