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. An additional winter survey of sport fishing occurred during October 2018-February 2019. All data have been summarized by month for this report. Conclusions: 1. Total angler effort in 2019 increased 9.7% from the 2018 survey period. Effort increased 16.9% for boat anglers and declined 1.0% for pedestrian anglers. 2. Yellow perch harvest decreased 41.2% from 2018 estimates to 9,547 fish. Mean length increased 16.6% to 27.9 cm (11.0 in), and mean weight increased 49.4% to 251.6 g (0.55 lb.). 3. Coho salmon comprised most of the salmonid harvest (67.3%); Coho salmon harvest decreased 13.3% compared to 2018, to 27,736 fish. The mean size of Coho salmon measured by creel clerks in 2019 was 1,243 g (2.74 lb.), and 49.9 cm (19.6 in) long, representing a declines of 15.4% in weight and 5.7% in length from 2018. 4. Chinook salmon harvest was estimated at 1,889 fish, a 48.9% decrease from 2018. The mean size of Chinook in 2019 was 5,910 g (13.0 lb., an increase of 5.9%) and 77.3 cm (30.4 in) long (an increase of 2.9% from 2018). 5. Compared to 2018, rainbow trout harvest increased 82.2% to 3,891 fish. Mean rainbow trout weight decreased 6.4% to 2,778 g (6.12 lb.) and length decreased 0.8% to 63.5 cm (25.0 in). 6. Lake trout harvest increased to an estimated 6,999 fish, a 54.2% increase from 2018. The mean length of lake trout harvested decreased compared to 2018 by 4.2% to 65.9 cm (26.0 in), and mean weight decreased 9.7% to 3,038 g (6.70 lb.). 7. The estimated brown trout harvest decreased 23.2% from 2018 to 667 fish. Mean length of harvested brown trout increased by 1.2% to 57.5 cm (22.6 in), and mean weight increased by 22.8% to 2,809 g (6.19 lb.). 8. Estimates of total expenditures for boats, motors, trailers and fishing gear in 2019 were $17.8 million, 117.4% higher than in 2018. 9. In March 2019, angler effort decreased 28.9% compared to 2018, to 8,494 angler hours. Brown trout harvest increased 201.4% to 223 fish, and Coho salmon decreased 61.5% to 295 fish. Harvest of lake trout was 25 fish, a decrease of 82.0% compared to March of 2018, and harvest of rainbow trout was 10 fish (a decline of 66.7% compared to March, 2018). No yellow perch were harvested in March 2019, consistent with a lack of harvest in March of 2016 and 2017, but in contrast with an estimated 695 yellow perch that were harvested in March 2018. As in March of 2018, no Chinook salmon harvest was documented in March of 2019. 10. In the winter (October 2018-February 2019), 44,078 angler-hours were directed at yellow perch. Estimated harvest of yellow perch was 70,221, representing 80.6% of the March 2018-February 2019 yellow perch harvest.
|Name||INHS Technical Report 2020 (08)|