Jack Spaulding

Indiana DNR is holding two public meetings in January to discuss the current Lake Michigan Chinook salmon stocking plan. The first meeting will be held on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Michigan City Fish and Game Club, 3091 E Michigan Blvd., Trail Creek, IN 46360. The second will held Saturday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Indiana Harbor Yacht Club, 3301 Aldis Ave., East Chicago, IN 46312.

Indiana DNR recently announced 275,000 Chinook salmon will be stocked in Lake Michigan annually starting in 2023, an increase from 225,000.

During the meetings, Indiana DNR will also announce details of a plan for soliciting public input regarding future plans for the species.

“We have a lot of dedicated and informed anglers, and we’d like to get their thoughts to help shape future stocking plans for 2023 and beyond to create the fishery that works best for all Hoosier anglers,” the agency’s Lake Michigan biologist Ben Dickinson said.

Baitfish populations have rebounded from an all-time low in the mid-2010s after lake-wide stocking reductions made by all state agencies during the past decade.

Ben Dickinson, Indiana DNR’s Lake Michigan biologist, says the improved predator-prey balance in the lake allows for the increase, which should benefit anglers, but biologists will be monitoring for the need for future adjustments.

“Anglers should realize increasing stocking does increase predation pressure and may increase future risk to baitfish populations,” Dickinson said. “We will continue to closely watch the predator-prey balance to help ensure the long-term health of the fishery.”

Staff from Mixsawbah State Fish Hatchery recently traveled to Michigan to obtain Chinook salmon eggs to meet the new production target.

“Indiana doesn’t have the infrastructure to take salmon eggs, so partnerships are crucial for our Lake Michigan program,” Rob Ackerson, Mixsawbah hatchery manager, said. “We’re grateful to our Michigan DNR partners for providing us with the opportunity to obtain eggs.”

Fish from the eggs will be raised at Mixsawbah to be stocked in April 2023. They will spend one to three years feeding in Lake Michigan before returning to their stocking sites as mature spawning adults in the fall. For more information about Lake Michigan fishing visit: wildlife.IN.gov/3625.htm.

Avian Influenza In Gibson County Water Fowl

Avian influenza has been confirmed in snow geese and other water fowl from Western Gibson County. Diagnostic testing on carcasses collected there was done at the National Veterinary Services Lab.

More than 100,000 snow geese are currently present in western Gibson County. Approximately 700 geese, primarily snow geese, have recently been found dead. Indiana is one of multiple states in which the current strain of avian influenza has been confirmed this fall.

Indiana DNR, in partnership with federal and private partners, has increased surveillance of birds throughout the state to monitor for other potential outbreaks.

Birds infected with avian influenza may display unusual behaviors such as erratic swim patterns, tremors, a twisted neck, and/or a general lack of coordination. Sick birds may also have nasal discharge, a cough, sneezing, and/or diarrhea; however, some infected birds will not appear sick.

Individuals who see sick birds or find multiple birds dead in a single area should report them to the DNR at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.

Meat hunters harvest from wild birds in the state handled using standard safety procedures and cooked to an internal temperature of 165F does not present a food safety risk.

Additional information about avian influenza in wild birds, birdfeeder care, and more advice on how you can help prevent the spread of avian influenza and other bird diseases is at on.IN.gov/avian-flu.

For additional information about domestic poultry facilities and backyard poultry flocks, see the Indiana Board of Animal Health’s avian influenza website: boah.IN.gov/species-information/avianbirds/highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza.

NRC Approves New Nature Preserve

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved the dedication of Clemens Place on Clifty Creek Nature Preserve in Greene County during its regularly scheduled meeting in November at Fort Harrison State Park.

The 58-acre nature preserve includes a portion of the Clifty Creek canyon, which features towering sandstone bluffs and a karst sink. The action increases the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act to 297.

Also regarding nature preserves, the NRC approved the dedication of a 207-acre addition to Bluffs of Beaver Bend Nature Preserve in Martin County, nearly doubling its size to approximately 412 acres.

Monroe Lake First Day Trail Run

Monroe Lake will host its 10th annual First Day Trail Run and Walk at Fairfax State Recreation Area on Sunday, Jan. 1 at 3:30 p.m. The noncompetitive event has three distances, 3.7, 2.9, or 1.3 miles, through fields and forested areas. Participants are encouraged to tap the bell and ring in the New Year as they cross the finish line.

Advance registration is available through Dec. 30 at bit.ly/firstdayrun2023 for $15 per person. The first 300 advance registrants will receive an embroidered collectible event patch. Same-day registration will be $20 per person (cash or check only) from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.

All registrations include a post-event food station with soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot cocoa, and a wide variety of snacks. There will also be free event photos to download. Everyone also receives a ticket for the prize drawing, which includes race entries from Indiana Trail Running, Indiana State Parks annual entrance permits, and a guided kayak trip for up to eight people with kayaks included.

The event is co-sponsored this year by the Indiana Trail Running Association. Proceeds support public events, programs, and interpretation at Monroe Lake.

For more information contact the Paynetown Activity Center at Monroe Lake at 812-837-9967 or email Jill Vance at jvance@dnr.IN.gov.

‘till next time,

Jack

Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or e-mail to jackspaulding@hughes.net.

Contact Aaron Kirchoff at aaron.kirchoff@greensburgdailynews.com

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