A Survey of Sport Fishing in the Illinois Portion of Lake Michigan: March through September 2015

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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 (weekdays. 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 yellow perch fishing occurred during October 2014-February 2015. All data have been summarized by month for this report. Total angler effort in 2015 declined 11.6% from the 2014 survey period.Effort increased 2.5% for boat anglers and decreased 25.8%for pedestrian anglers. The yellow perch harvest decreased 84.8% from2014 estimates to 8,289fish. Mean length decreased 3.6% to25.9cm (10.2in),while mean weight decreased 16.7% to 222g (0.49lb.). Coho salmon comprised most of the salmonid harvest (70.2%) and harvest increased15.0% compared to 2014. The estimated 2015 coho salmon harvest was 34,856 fish. The mean size of coho salmon measured by creel clerks in 2015was 1,007g (2.22lb.), and 47.2cm (18.6in) long, representing decreases of 12.2% in weight and 2.7% in length from 2014. Chinook salmon harvest was estimated at7,556fish, a 50.8% increase from 2014. The mean size of Chinook in 2015 was 4,468g (9.85lb.,an increase of 5.0%) and 72.4cm (28.5in)long(a decrease of 0.3% from 2014). Compared to 2014, rainbow trout harvest decreased 51.1% to 3,342fish. Mean rainbow trout weight decreased 13.0% to 2356g (5.19lb.), while length increased 0.6% to 62.5cm (24.6in). The lake trout harvest decreased to an estimated2,418fish, a 43.7% decrease from 2014. The mean length of lake trout harvested increased compared to 2014 by 0.6% to 67.0cm (26.4in), and mean weight increased 7.3% to 3,056g (6.74lb.). The estimated brown trout harvest decreased 76.2% from 2014 to 1,448 fish. Mean length of harvested brown trout decreased by 10.7% to 50.1cm (19.7in),and mean weight decreased by 35.7% to 1,715g (3.78lb.). Estimates of total expenditures for boats, motors, trailers and fishing gear in 2015were $4.26million, 41.4%l ower than in 2014. In March 2015, angler effort and harvest of brown trout, increased compared to 2014, while rainbow trout and coho salmon harvest decreased slightly. Total effort was 7,684angler hours, rising19.9% from 2014. March harvest in 2015 decreased 100% for rainbow trout (0 fish compared to 15fish in March, 2014) and 5.4% for coho salmon (1,295 fish),and increased 1068.5% for brown trout (853 fish). As in March of 2014, no yellow perch, lake trout,or Chinook salmon harvest was documented in March of 2015. In the winter (October 2014-February 2015), 11,610 angler hours were directed at yellow perch. Estimated harvest of yellow perch was 6,431, representing 10.6% of the March 2014-Feburary 2015 yellow perch harvest.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois Natural History Survey
StatePublished - Nov 30 2016

Publication series

NameINHS Technical Report 2016 (46)


  • INHS


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