A Survey of Sport Fishing in the Illinois Portion of Lake Michigan March through September 2017

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The purpose of this study was to estimate sport fishing effort, harvest, and expenditures by anglers fishing the Illinois portion of Lake Michigan (excluding charter fishing). Information provided by this study is important for management of sport fisheries in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. Data were collected via a contact creel survey on randomly-selected days over a six month period (4/1 - 9/30), and were summarized and extrapolated over the six month period to obtain estimates for specific locations as well as for the entire Illinois portion of Lake Michigan. Sampling dates were randomly chosen for access sites within two strata: time period (segment = three week blocks) and type of day (weekday vs. weekend/holiday). An additional March survey was conducted at selected sites along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The March survey was stratified by weekend/ weekday, but the entire month of March was treated as one segment. All data have been summarized by month for this report. Conclusions: 1. Total angler effort in 2017 declined 12.7% from the 2016 survey period. Effort decreased 7.7% for boat anglers and 19.4% for pedestrian anglers. 2. The yellow perch harvest decreased 14.8% from 2016 estimates to 9,568 fish. Mean length increased 9.4% to 25.3 cm (9.9 in), while mean weight increased 69.4% to 275.9 g (0.61 lb.). 3. Coho salmon comprised most of the salmonid harvest (71.5%) and harvest increased 25.8% compared to 2016. The estimated 2017 Coho salmon harvest was 32,080 fish. The mean size of Coho salmon measured by creel clerks in 2017 was 1,349 g (2.97 lb.), and 53.0 cm (20.9 in) long, representing decreases of 14.6% in weight and 3.1% in length from 2016. 4. Chinook salmon harvest was estimated at 3,356 fish, a 45.0% decrease from 2016. The mean size of Chinook in 2017 was 5,341 g (11.8 lb., an increase of 47.8%) and 76.8 cm (30.2 in) long (an increase of 14.7% from 2016). 5. Compared to 2016, rainbow trout harvest decreased 68.3% to 2,248 fish. Mean rainbow trout weight decreased 20.9% to 2162 g (4.77 lb.) and length decreased 9.9% to 59.1 cm (23.3 in). 6. The lake trout harvest decreased to an estimated 2,783 fish, a 62.4% decrease from 2016. The mean length of lake trout harvested increased compared to 2016 by 2.7% to 70.4 cm (27.7 in), and mean weight increased 11.6% to 3,804 g (8.39 lb.). 7. The estimated brown trout harvest increased 35.5% from 2016 to 4,379 fish. Mean length of harvested brown trout decreased by 5.3% to 56.3 cm (22.2 in), and mean weight decreased by 27.9% to 2,282 g (5.03 lb.). 8. Estimates of total expenditures for boats, motors, trailers and fishing gear in 2017 were $3.79 million, 291.9% higher than in 2016. 9. In March, 2017, angler effort decreased 41.9% compared to 2016 to 8,023 angler hours. Brown trout harvest decreased 78.7% to 125 fish, and Coho salmon decreased 79.8% to 391 fish. Harvest of lake trout was 124 fish, compared to 0 fish in March of 2016, but harvest of rainbow trout was 0 fish (compared to 41 fish in March, 2016). As in March of 2016, no yellow perch or Chinook salmon harvest was documented in March of 2017.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Natural History Survey
Commissioning bodyDivision of Fisheries, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Grant/Contract No: Federal Aid Project F-196 R-1
Number of pages43
StatePublished - Dec 20 2018

Publication series

NameINHS Technical Report
No.2018 (43)


  • INHS


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