Thursday, October 1, 2015

Isle Royale in Lake Superior

Greenstones,  Wolves, Moose, Thimbleberries, and the Isle Royale redfin lake trout


On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head shape of Lake Superior with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its mouth.  It is precious since there are few places left on this planet that have been preserved like this.  It is unique; some of the oldest rocks on this planet form Isle Royale, its plants and animals  and minerals.  There are copper mining pits on the Island where native Americans dug rich veins of copper long ago.


     When I think of Isle Royale, I think of Eden, a place away from cars and the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Isle Royale; only hiking trails.   The sounds of Isle Royale are of bugling moose, the silvery songs of northern songbirds, the lapping of waves on rocks and the quavering voices of loons.  Sometimes there is the slap of a beaver’s tail.  The resident pack of wolves are elusive and seldom seen.  We did not hear them at all.

     My husband and I hiked the trails there and I’ll never forget the thimbleberries  higher than our heads along a trail.  We picked the large berries like none other I have ever tasted, copper color, tangy and delicious.

          We found greenstones, Michigan’s semi precious stone.  We stayed on Isle Royale for a week and every day we took a different hiking trail.  We watched a diving duck teaching her young to dive.  We saw a fox near its den, and had a close encounter with a moose.   As we hiked, my husband Norm said, “I smell a moose.”  I didn’t believe him, but as we came around the bend, there it was, bigger than life, standing athwart our trail.  We kept a respectful distance and it casually strolled off.


          We did not fish, but the rocks off of the island are the place where the Isle Royale redfin lake trout spawn as they have for millennia.  This is an endemic species and its good to know it is still returning to Isle Royale every year before returning to the depths of Lake Superior.


          In my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, I have a section devoted to this very special fish, the Isle Royale redfin lake trout.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

One Thousand Sturgeon

1000 sturgeon planted  follow the link to the latest news about sturgeon.

Read more about the sturgeon in the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.
This book is available in paperback and on Kindle., etc.

the 5 Great Lakes as seen from space.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Round Gobies in Lake Michigan

BY RYAN MATUZAK Local Columnist Traverse City
Here in Grand Traverse Region, we can try for many different species of fish in a single trip — the interesting part is how one of the more recent invasive fish plays a part in the catching. Round gobies cover the floor of the lake and bays at most every depth. They are one of the most visible and abundant fish on the bottom of the lake. Any cover on the bottom will attract gobies. In their home waters of the Black Sea, they prefer eating small crustaceans and invertebrates, along with zebra and quagga mussels. Since our lake bottom is covered with these mussels, there is plenty of food for the gobies — in addition to competing for food with the native fish species.
When I go out fishing now with a particular species in mind, gobies are part of the equation. In the Grand Traverse Bays and Lake Michigan, finding cover or structure that the gobies live on will have more fish that are looking to eat. These areas continue to draw feeding fish based on the gobies reproduction cycle. The average mature 1-2-year-old female goby spawns every 20 days from April until September. As many as 5,000 eggs are laid in each nest. That is a lot of different-sized prey fish entering the system for around six months of the year. These fish are rich in vitamin B, which helps the reproduction of the fish eating them. Natural reproduction in native fish has gone up in areas where the alewife populations have gone down and gobies numbers are up. Alewives are a decent food source for fish with their fatty acids but they do not help reproduction because they are vitamin B-deficient. I've found gobies in nearly every species of fish caught in the Great Lakes and connecting waters in the last decade. Our perch eat the juveniles and big perch are full of 1-inch gobies. The local lake trout have a steady diet of almost exclusively gobies. We catch them in 10- to 200- feet of water trolling and jigging vertically — all of them have gobies in them. And yes, we have seen some chinook salmon this year full of gobies. There were not a lot of salmon eating them but we have seen more this year than in all of the years since gobies' arrival combined. Our prized smallmouth bass fishery here in the Grand Traverse Region is also benefiting from the abundant goby population right where the bass like to live. The bass are found feeding on gobies in water right up to the beach and as deep recently as 80 feet of water. Tube baits do a great job of mimicking a goby. If you do happen to catch gobies when you are fishing your next time out, don’t be surprised. Just remember that spot may have some of your favorite target species nearby just waiting to bite your line next! Ryan Matuzak runs fishing trips in the Grand Traverse region — North Country Sportfishing, LLC — and is a board member of the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association. To learn more, drop him a line at:

Lake Michigan

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fishing in Lake Michigan

Coho and Chinook Salmon, Pacific Salmon are now being caught in Lake Michigan. People are now catching perch and lake run steelhead from piers.
 Read more about fishing in the Great Lakes in The Dynamic Great Lakes.  The book is available online at,, The Bookman in Grand Haven, MI, Schuler's Books and Music in Grand Rapids and Lansing and many other places.

Critically acclaimed by those interested in fishing and the freshwater seas.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Native Fish in Great Lakes Make a Comeback

Steelhead, perch and lake trout are making a comeback due to the decline of the alewife.  For more information about fishing in the five Great Lakes, here is a link: The latest fishing information

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lamprey Eels in Canada and the Great Lakes

The so-called “vampire of the lakes” has been found for the first time in a creek west of London.
Sea lamprey are a blood-sucking scourge that once threatened to ruin the multibillion-dollar fish industry in the Great Lakes.
Now, with a $22-million annual program to monitor lakes and treat tributaries for lamprey and their larvae, they number “about 10% of what they (once) were,” says Brian Stephens, who heads the sea lamprey control program for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “They almost decimated the populations of lake trout in the upper Great Lakes in the 1950s.”
But lamprey larvae keep popping up in new places. And the newest location to be treated with a lampricide will be a tiny tributary of the Thames River, in Komoka Creek west of London.
“This is the first time Komoka Creek is scheduled for treatment,” Stevens said.
Adult lamprey swim from lakes to spawn in clean, gravelly tributaries. The adults then die but their larvae stay in the stream-bed for about five years until they’re large enough to float downstream to the lakes.
There, they attach themselves to native fish and literally suck the life out of them.
The Komoka Creek larvae were found during survey efforts in 2013.
The population estimate is there are 730 larvae longer than 100 millimetres, or the width of a human hand.
At that stage, they’re ideal for chemical treatment to prevent them from growing into adults.
In the oceans, sea lamprey are parasites that live off large saltwater fish.
But as an invasive species in fresh water here, they threaten a $7-billion fishing industry.
“Unfortunately, in the Great Lakes, the fish aren’t as big as the host they feed on and they kill the host,” Stephens said.
Before the U.S. and Canada began a joint program in the mid-1950s to monitor, trap and apply lampricide, commercial fish populations had plummeted to just 2% of their previous average.
The lamprey larvae have low levels of an enzyme that would allow their systems to break down the species-specific lampricide, Stephens said. Fish have higher levels of that enzyme and are not harmed in the treatment.
A trout hatchery set up on the creek by Thames River Anglers Association wouldn’t be harmed by the lampricide.
Monitoring takes place continuously through the Great Lakes basin.
In the London region, Big Creek and Big Otter Creek — which feed into Lake Erie — have also been treated with lampricide in past years. This week, a team has also been treating creeks near Oshawa.
Komoka Creek was originally to have been treated this spring, but heavy rains have tentatively postponed that to August. 

Read more about invasive species in The Dynamic Great Lakes: available on a Kindle reader and also in paperback.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fracking: What Does it Mean?

Click the link for the Fracking Song.


I just have signed a petition to put a ban on fracking in Michigan for 2016.  This is an important piece of legislation for the sake of the environment and all living things.