Brown trout stocked in Wisconsin's Lake Superior watersLake Superior anglers near Duluth and Superior may soon be catching a new strain of brown trout. In late May, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stocked about 60,000 Seeforellen-strain brown trout in Lake Superior waters near Superior. The fish were 5 to 6 inches long.
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
Lake Superior anglers near Duluth and Superior may soon be catching a new strain of brown trout. In late May, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stocked about 60,000 Seeforellen-strain brown trout in Lake Superior waters near Superior. The fish were 5 to 6 inches long.
The stocking came in response to anglers who were unhappy that the Wisconsin DNR had refused to continue stocking Chinook salmon in the area, said Peter Stevens, supervisor of Lake Superior fisheries for the DNR.
“It isn’t necessarily a permanent thing,” Stevens said, “but for the next couple of planting cycles, we intend to plant some down by Superior.”
Overall, the Wisconsin DNR stocked about 240,000 brown trout in the lake this spring at sites from Saxon Harbor to Superior, Stevens said. The department plans to stock about 40,000 browns near Superior and at other sites along the South Shore in both 2014 and 2015 if hatcheries can produce about 150,000 of the browns overall, Stevens said.
Seeforellen browns grow to large size and are readily caught by Lake Superior anglers in both open water and through the ice, Stevens said. Anglers report catching the stocked browns up to 24 inches in length, he said.
“That would be a hefty fish,” Stevens said.
The strain offers good returns to anglers, Stevens said.
“We’re happy to provide things that work,” he said.
The agency increased its stocking of the popular brown trout in Wisconsin waters after discussions with anglers in the Chequamegon Bay area two years ago, Stevens said. The DNR will evaluate whether the increased stocking of Seeforellen browns translates to better returns to anglers, Stevens said.
“They do seem to grow to good size and fight well,” he said.
The average length of the browns reported in
angler surveys is about 18 inches, and the average weight is about 2¼ pounds, he said.
Minnesota stocked brown trout in Lake Superior from 1975 to 1980 and again in 1983 but discontinued stocking the species, said Keith Reeves, assistant Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Returns to anglers were low, and fisheries officials had concerns about the species competing with native brook trout, Reeves said.
Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs both stopped stocking Chinook salmon in Lake Superior after poor returns of stocked fish to anglers, fisheries officials say. But salmon fishing has been especially good on the big lake this summer, charter captains in the Duluth area report. Those salmon probably are coming from natural reproduction in Michigan and Ontario tributaries of Lake Superior.