Invasive gobies staking out new territory

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Tiny & Troublesome. Photo: Kristen Stanford, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory

An uninvited outsider is rapidly showing up in new freshwater territory in Wisconsin–and a recent scientific study indicates the increasing impact of the small fish.

 Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology found the invasive round goby has increased 10-fold in some of the state’s lakes and rivers.

In addition to the Great Lakes, the fish are now showing up in 175 miles of inland streams, according to Matthew Kornis, doctoral candidate at the Center for Limnology.

Like many of the known invasive species inhibiting the Great Lakes, the round goby arrived by an ocean-bound ship and was first seen in the Saint Clair River in 1990.

“The study,” Kornis says, “raises significant concern of negative effects round gobies will have or already have on Great Lakes tributaries.”

Researchers found a related dramatic decline in native fish in places where gobies thrive. They attributed the drop to gobies eating the eggs and larvae of native fish.

Gobies can spread contaminants such as mercury and botulism, Kornis said.

The researchers said the key to control is educating the public on the negative consequences of the fish, who then can take the proper steps to slow the invasion.

Such steps include cleaning off boats in between uses on different bodies of water, Kornis said.

And anglers should not use gobies as bait which also can lead to their spread.

That’s probably better advice than the technique I used as a kid when I caught gobies while fishing at my grandma’s house on Lake St. Clair:  We would toss them into the street for oncoming traffic to squash.

For more on the study of Kornis and his colleagues, watch this video by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute. 


48 thoughts on “Invasive gobies staking out new territory

  1. It’s already taking place, and has for years. Salmon and browns are stocked in Green Bay, which is packed with predators (walleyes, pike, bass, muskies, burbot, catfish, dogfish and more). World-class fisheries, one and all. Pro walleye and bass tourneys take place on the same waters that locals and visitors alike target perch, bass, walleyes, pike, muskies, trout, salmon, whitefish and more.

    Interesting that “anonymous” and Tom M. posts are very similar in nature, and only five minutes apart. Tom, are you also “waste of a natural resource?”? I think we know the answer.

  2. Can’t stock salmon or browns in Huron, too many predators(walleyes) , same would happen in Lake Michigan. That’s what this is all about. One fish or all fish, or hatchery jobs or a healthy ecosystem? No contest. Scoop the thought of you never being able to catch a salmon again is sounding better and better every day.

  3. Scoop the thought of you never catching a salmon again is sounding better and better every day. Since this would mean no one else is catching, then we can go about the business of fixing this mess the DNR created. I’ll call it a good thing. Since it’s well documented how many of each fish was and is around at the time of gobies, zeebs etc… plus I know what I was catching, others were’nt catching, what I catch now your full of of it. The salmon/alewife plan is all negative, has been since 1986 destroys the natural resource ecosystem. Restoring the native fish population is all positive, native fish do not become a problem, invasive species do. Asian Carp are a freshwater fish they do not need to adapt to a freshwater system which we have. What you see going down south is what you will see here unless predators can “maintain the pest at levels of insignificant impact” this quote is from the DEQ and applies to all invasive species. Intergrated Pest Management “minimizing danger to the envirionment” saving the alewives does not do that, never will. There are many more expert opinions and the facts we all can see. You can’t but everyone else can. Can’t stock salmon or browns in Huron because it’s full off predators (walleyes) same would happen in Lake Michigan and that’s a fact and what’s this is all about. One fish or all fish. Hatchery jobs or healthy ecosystem? No contest.

  4. Tom, you come across as a negative or nothing guy. One might believe there’s no good fishing in Lake Michigan by reading your posts when in fact, it’s an incredible, world-class, multi-species fishery – natives and stocked.

    ” If an invasive species is pumped out in a boats ballast water “in a place full of predators they don’t stand a chance” etc… got it now”

    In your dream world, perhaps. In the real world, when gobies came into a system absolutely loaded with predators (bass, brown trout, burbot, northern pike, walleyes, whitefish and yellow perch, among others), what good did it do?

    “somehow Ohio stocks steelhead around the walleyes lets ask them how?”

    No need to. Wisconsin already stocks trout around walleyes in Green Bay. Both species are thriving side by side.

  5. Chinook target a single species -alewives. Alewives target many species including zooplankton ALL fish need. THE PROBLEM. Using Grisches point if Asian carp swim into lake Michigan “which is full of predators, they Don’t stand a chance” If an invasive species is pumped out in a boats ballast water “in a place full of predators they don’t stand a chance” etc… got it now? We can’t train perch or walleyes to not eat alewives, nor would I want to, they will eat them all, and probably target alewives first, great that’s what we want. In the past I pushed to switch to browns, they don’t need alewives, but will be eaten same as chinook when stocked, somehow Ohio stocks steelhead around the walleyes lets ask them how? The law Act 451 part 5 “The department shall protect and conserve the natural resources of the state” Alewives, chinook saltwater fish are not a natural resource, require the intentional destruction of the natural resource to exist! Sorry scoop your a chinook or nothin guy, the lakes would be a better place if you moved anywhere far away, very sad but very true. We don’t have time to put up with more delaying BS, salmon are worth billions, towns will dry up,blah blah blah grow up. Alewives are an invasive species period.

  6. Tom, you are dead wrong on me being a “one species” fanatic and wrong on the number of boats. I fish for more than a dozen species, natives and stocked. And, there are hundreds of charters in Wisconsin and Michigan, and THOUSANDS of private boats out after salmon and trout and thousands more shore, pier and river anglers who score on trout and salmon at various times of the year.

    There have been several Wisconsin salmon and trout tournaments with between 500-1000 entrants each in recent weeks, and the Salmon-A-Rama at Racine is typically between 1-2K and is going on now. Still to come (starts this weekend) is the Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament which last year had more than 2,700 participants after chinooks in just a two-county area! Those aren’t lies, they’re facts.

    At the same time, you can see hundreds of boats on the bay side of Door County filled with anglers chasing perch, bass, walleyes, pike, muskies, brown trout and more, all in an alewife-rich system.

  7. Scoop the only point you have is you want to catch salmon and to hell with everyone else. Hundreds of thousands of dead alewives on the beach and the MDNR says that’s a good thing. Now I’m reading article that just came out yesterday Michigan Outdoor news “Lake Hurons Brown trout program scrapped” The stocked browns are being eaten by predators (walleyes) I quote Grishke’s statement ” “When there is no alewives, ANYTHING stocked in a location like Thunder bay, which is full of predators, doesn’t stand a chance” Now this rule also applies to ANY invasive species, key being full of predators. A single species predator like chinook is useless, proven many times over by the billions of invasive species they swim over. This is the part where I’m supposed to use not nice words and have genetic concerns about your family, but I wont do that. Your all wet scoop. I go fishin, I see Muskegon Lake Empty, and boats as far as the eyes can see on saginaw Bay. The Muskegon Tri-port challenge (salmon tournament) last year has 78 boats, this year they spread over 3 ports to save money on gas, “not to spend the kids college fund” they said, this is billions to you? 25 boats per port most locals who wont contribute to the tourism? All fish have predators, we need more. But mention restoring native fish (predators) you guys and the DNR soil your underwear and tell lie after lie to stop it.

  8. The point I’m trying to make about single-species targeting is that there aren’t any predators you can stock that’ll concentrate on one thing, like gobies, for instance. A bunch of species already eat gobies: smallmouth bass, northern pike, brown trout, muskies, walleyes, whitefish … and the list goes on. Yet what good has it done? Same with Asian carp. Catfish aplenty on the Mississippi, along with more than a dozen other species capable of munching Asians day and night. What good did that do decades ago, when there were relatively few in there? What good will it do today? Want burbot? There were so many burbot (and bass, and walleyes, and perch, and pike, and …) in Green Bay when gobies arrived you could have carpeted the bottom with them. A lake in Europe doesn’t compare to a “Great” lake.

    What predators and how many do you think will be needed to end the reign of gobies, or prevent Asian carp from getting a hold if they ever get in in big enough numbers?

    You can continue dreaming that there’s a magic bullet, but why not get away from the desk and depression and go fishing? Check out this week’s MDNR fishing report; perch, bass, lake trout, salmon and many other species are all biting. Quit complaining that there’s nothing to catch! Yeah, many potential anglers can’t get off their couch, computer, phone or tablet long enough to go fishing, but thousands of anglers are out there, enjoying the summer, getting bites, catching and releasing, or frying up fish for their families.

  9. Scoop please read your own statement. Please write a letter to editor any or all papers, say this, please. Call me crazy if you like, tell all the people what you think please! Scoop any biologist that says predators can’t control any fish population doesn’t need to be a biologist, needs to find anther line of work. Not enough predators is the only part you got right.

  10. “Name another predator that does that single-species targeting?” lol

    All the more reason to get rid of alweife, they certainly don’t, and not just inverts, native fish too scoopy.

  11. This is not a little lake in Europe. Spiny water and Russian fishhook fleas are among the best at eating zooplankton and few things can stomach them. Walleyes and yellow perch are abundant and naturally reproducing in many parts of the Great Lakes where alewives are present. Chinooks target alewives and very little else. Name another predator that does that single-species targeting? There aren’t any predators or enough of them to stop the gobies, mussels, Asian carp and other exotics. Separate the basin asap. Abundant predators couldn’t stop Asian carp when they first got into the Mississippi and they won’t stop them anywhere else, either.

  12. Perch are both predator and prey, it’s normal for other native predators to eat perch, been doing it for 10,000 years. What’s not normal is millions of invasive alewives eating the zooplankton (all fish need)and millions of alewives wiping out the spawn attempts of native Perch, Walleye etc.. by eating the larval size. Chinook live3/4 years eat only alewives require massive amounts of alewives. Perch live 10+ years eat most all of the invasives we have now. Walleyes live 20 years eat a wide variety of invasives and yep they eat Perch, normal/natural prey for them. From a cost perspective stocking/restoring Perch and walleye gets you more bang for your buck, live longer have adapted to the new invasive food, in high numbers can reduce invasive numbers/impact on the natural ecosystem. Chinook require the destruction of the natural freshwater ecosystem to survive (alewives domninant). In Europe predators eliminated spiny fleas in some lakes, others without predators did not. I would also point out the the “once you get invasive species you can never get rid of them” BS don’t hold no water. The DNR’s just told the whole world too many PREDATORS will wipe out the alewives, an invasive species. Sorry gotta agree with kpng.

  13. kpng, that was an incredibly rude post.

    So, the estimate was that adult burbot populations ate 61 percent of the estimated round goby standing stock annually. Sounds great, until you realize how often gobies spawn and how successful they are at it, and how vast Lake Michigan is vs. Lake Erie. Burbot are literally everywhere on Green Bay, where gobies are thriving.

    But, be careful what you wish for. Burbot love to munch on baby lake trout (and young perch, too).

  14. Fishing at Dobbins Landing in Erie, Pa. this weekend, caught two Gobies about 4inches long each. Fed them to the birds.

  15. Look at it this way, by eliminating commercial alewife fishing, by reducing the number of salmon stocked, it’s the same effect as stocking millions of alewives in Lake Michigan. Now isn’t that crazy. 40 years ago if you would have told any DNR employee that alewives would be stocked in the future, they would have thought you mad.

  16. Stocking perch will “feed just about every species that swims” ?? I don’t think so, maybe in Green Bay, which needs prey for all the extra walleye, pike and musky. But not Lake Michigan off Wisconsin, what’s going to eat perch, not salmon or trout, there are no walleye or pike. As for difference in limits. they most often reflect health of a fishery. but if it’s numbers you want. The estimated number of perch in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan excluding Green Bay were last reported at 314,000 total perch, down from 24.5 million in 1990. If 1.2 million perch were proven to have been taken illegally by commercials what’s wrong with replacing those stolen fish by stocking? Sure, there’s less plankton in the lake, but perch in Michigan and Illinois waters are producing more perch, not because they have more plankton to feed the baby perch, but because the have more adult perch making more baby perch. So perch in lake michigan eat invasive carp, alewives, spiney water fleas and goby, with no fish really preying on perch, so why stock salmon to eat alewives but not stock perch to eat 3 additional invasives? DNR hypocrisy and commercial special interests, that’s why.

  17. Further, Scoop, in regards to your comment about predators controlling round goby, well your too late, and you are wrong. Would you consider Chuck Madenjian to be an armchair biologist? He is one of the most prolific publishers of fisheries related subjects in the Great Lakes, and his paper right here in the link below, published in a respected journal suggests that predatory control of round goby is happening in lake erie, right now from native predators. Sorry dude, can be done, and is being done. In fact the article is entitled “Evidence for predatory control of the round goby.” here’s the link

    If you are going to state what you think is fact, bash people who are enthusiastic about native fisheries, and bolster about how much you know, you should do a real literature review and get your facts right. You must be one of the morons tasked with managing fisheries and who supports reduced salmon stocking to save alewife, or else you are just too scared like everyone else in the agencies to speak up. Get a life man.





  19. Saying there’s more than enough plankton … where do you get that info? Less food at the bottom end of the food chain is hurting most fish species. Quagga mussels are doing great, sadly, and will keep filtering out the vital bottom of the food chain “stuff” that “good” fish need. Wisconsin does have a 15-perch limit on its vast Green Bay waters. The 5 is for Lake Michigan itself. Not sure I follow you on the “loss of perch from Wisconsin’s waters” thing. Just because one state has a higher or lower bag limit doesn’t necessarily mean there or more or less perch available. Perch stocking? Great if you want to feed just about every species that swims. The water is too gin-clear today, in my opinion, for perch to ever come back strong on Lake Michigan. Not only do they have a hard time getting enough to eat, they are easily spotted when young and vulnerable. Thanks for nothing, mussels (unless you like SCUBA diving!).

  20. Scoops theory as to perch decline after mussels is I believe wrong, just like when Mr. Egan state the same thing. The reason is, yellow perch harvest numbers were declining before mussels arrived. Yellow perch numbers were hammered hard in Lake Michigan due to commercial overfishing and violating. in 1989 Wis. went to a quota system making it easier to violate and to fish for perch right before spawning, right on their reefs. Estimated commercial illegal perch taken 1989 – 1992 in Wis. waters almost 6 million perch, Dr. Wilberg. He also found that so many breeding size perch were removed, re-population might not be possible and history has proven him right so far. Also while Wis. has a 5 perch limit Michigan has a 35 and 50 perch limit, same water, same invasive totally different management. since Lake Michigan water moves counter clockwise, i believe the the loss of perch from Wisconsin’s waters is hurting the repopulating of perch in the entire lake. There’s more then enough goby to feed adult perch and it would seem there’s more then enough plankton to feed YOY perch in Michigan’s waters. So why will the DNR’s stock salmon to eat alewives and even protect alewives, but don’t stock perch to eat goby? are the trying to protect gobies or protect future commercial perch fishing? see the supporting docs at lmyellowperch

  21. Tom, ever hear of Richard Louv and his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder? Pretty good read, and a lot of truth to it. Children spending more time indoors than ever has everything to do with the explosion of computer, tablet, smart phone, iPod and other screen time.

    Google the Kaiser Family Foundation study and see for yourself. Three years ago already the numbers showed that the average youth age 8 to 18 spent more than 7-1/2 hours a day on electronic devices such as those mentioned, and TV. That doesn’t even include the hour and a half spent texting or the half-hour they talk on their phones. That’s 9-1/2 hours. Considering they have to eat, sleep, work and go to school and other events, how much time does that leave for fishing?

  22. Scoop you just posted the DNR excuse list almost word for word. Anyone who thinks nature can’t compete with video games is crazy. Is it possible, is it just possible that it’s not that people don’t like fishin, they don’t like salmon fishing? Naw couldn’t be that. We have an invasive problem, they’re getting thier start in the lake and spreading. That’s because our so called main predator only eats one species (alewives) so all the rest are safe, the results do not lie. Billions of Asian Carp are coming and there’s an electric fence in Chicago, and a chain link fence in Indiana, we got em right where we want em. All you and your friends care about is you. The lake has to win this fight, not me, not you, not the DNR, nobody, the lake! Got it?

  23. Twenty miles out? Some may venture there for roaming steelhead when nothing else is available, but 90 percent of the season we fish just 2 to 5 miles off shore. At 30 miles per hour, in five minutes I’m setting lines in 70 to 100 feet of water.

    With a simple Google search, I found this report from similar depths on the Michigan side, last summer, with the headine: “Lake Michigan anglers reeling in many salmon …”

    A month later, the big ones starting showing up …. (and the perch fishing sounded pretty darn good, too, refuting your claim that it only starts late in the fall when fish start moving in to warmer waters pre-spawn):

    If you don’t want to believe the locals, here’s Eric Sharp of the Detroit Free Press, “Salmon fishing is king this summer in Lake Michigan” … The “some of the best fishing in America” he was talking about was salmon and steelhead:

    The hundreds of thousands is the cumulative four-state fishing licenses/stamps sold to Great Lakes salmon and trout anglers. Wisconsin alone sells more than 200,000 annually, a combination of salmon and trout stamps, two-day Great Lakes fishing licenses and Patron (all-inclusive) lienses. At its peak in the 1980s, Wisconsin sold more than 300,000 salmon stamps/one-day licenses allowing salmon fishing. Salmon fishing is not only world-class, it’s big business for the states surrounding Lake Michigan.

  24. For the record less than 580 people from all 4 states voted to save the alewives, in the DNR’s survey, hardly hundreds of thousands. 99% of your availible customer base cannot afford or don’t want to go fishing 20 miles out for the “hot bite”.

  25. The Barstool U comment is directed not at real biologists, but rather armchair quarterbacks that think they can solve fish, deer and people management and do nothing but bash professionals within the DNR.

    Declining license sales have been predicted for more than a decade. We’re in different times, busier times for most, digital times competing with kids’ attention for sports, including at the grade school and high school athletic levels. Many smaller schools don’t even field freshman teams any more, and have to combine lower grades to field a basketball or football team at the middle school level.

    But 1.3 million adults plus many youths is still a significant number of anglers in Michigan, still a major economic driver. You’ve got land on four Great Lakes. That spreads things out a bit as far as attractions go at any single port.

    DNR going broke? They shouldn’t have waited, what, 16 years to raise license fees?

    For those who doubt that today’s changing lifestyles are influencing participation, consider this: despite some of the largest counts of breeding ducks in history over the past decade, the number of federal “duck” stamps sold fell from more than 2.1 million in the 1970s to about 1.3 million in 2008, and is still dropping. In other words, these should be the glory days of duck hunting, but we’re losing the older generation and not recruiting the youngsters.

    Again, though, all you need to do is scour the web to read fishing reports and see photos from around Michigan, folks who are doing more than just pining and instead are making their “good old days” happen right now.

  26. When alewives were dominant, no native fish were in huge numbers,90% alewives…… Declining catch rates are documented. The license sales numbers I quoted were straight from the DNR, your friends must not buy fishing license, and the empty boat launches are…. empty. The boat dealers around here are filling thier lots with pontoon boats. Most people I know have or are getting rid of thier salmon boats, price of gas too high, not worth it. DNR going broke has to raise license fees…. “billions” of salmon dollars not making it to the DNR coffers somehow. You want us all to ignore what we can see with our own eyes. Barstool U? That’s low even for you.

  27. A laugh a minute, huh? Find a biologist who didn’t get their degree from Barstool U who says gobies and mussels can be controlled by native species. You can’t because they don’t exist. Probably the best eater of mussels, in fact, is the round goby – studies have found they can eat up to 78 in one day. Gobies also provide food for walleyes, perch, bass, brown trout and whitefish, among others, yet hide during the day and feed at night. Very prolific breeders and nest defenders. Can spawn up to six times a season with up to 5,000 eggs per spawning period. Mussels carpet the bottom in water so deep no perch or goby fins. No logical reason for anyone to want alewives? Tell that to hundreds of thousands of Lake Michigan anglers who target salmon and trout each year, and see what they tell you. Better yet, tell that to lakeshore port businesses who see multi-million dollar impacts every year from fishermen who target species that feed on alewives. Alewives aren’t dominant. They’re at modern day historic lows and have been for quite some time. When alewives were dominant, perch also were here in huge numbers. You choose to ignore that inconvenient truth. Why?

  28. Scoop There is no logical reason for anyone to want alewives. There is absolutely no logical reason for anyone to want the alewives to be the be the dominant fish in an ecosystem. Wanting to intentionally destroy an ecosystem has to be based on selfishness and greed, not science and common sense. Ignoring the gobies, mussels etc.. in Lake Michigan is allowing them to spread across the U.S. and Canada. Using predators is an environmentally friendly way to control invasive species. One group of biologists say we can control invasives including the mussels with native predators. One group of biologists says we have to keep the alewives dominant, and nothing else we can do. Your a laugh a minute scoop, but it’s not funny anymore. Asian Carp play for keeps, we should too.

  29. Simply adding some facts and opinions to the opinions and occasional facts Tom has expressed on this issue. I loved the 70s too, but the 00s and 10s are pretty awesome.

  30. Thanks for your comments Joe. To say these guys have tunnel vision is an understatement. They all say the same thing, I’ve dealt with several. I have even been threatened by an alewife lover, who wont try that again I assure you. I think it’s cute scoop thinks I’m talking to him, he has proved my point for me.

  31. ???

    Folks who don’t know any better might actually believe all you have to do is stop stocking salmon and instead stock millions of perch and Lake Michigan will magically be cleaned of mussels and will be a world-class jumbo yellow belly fishery.

  32. …And the guys going after muskellunge are sleeping at the local joint. How many times are you going to beat the dead horse?… Until it’s dead?

  33. Joe, sorry, I’m not understanding what you’re trying to say.

    Tom, Michigan DNR has sold 270,000 to 300,000 non-resident fishing licenses annually in the past decade. However, non-residents aren’t your state’s only source of “tourist dollars.” Many more Michigan residents enjoy the Great Lakes, rivers, inland waters, from 1-1.1 million licenses sold each year (plus all the youths that don’t need licenses who aren’t counted). Of course there are far more anglers that fish inland lake panfish than those who fish Lake Michigan salmon, but that’s because there are thousands of lakes that hold panfish and only a few that have salmon. The economic impact of salmon anglers is tremendous, however. Whether charter or private, they’re purchasing gas, food, lodging, tackle, dockage, etc., not just worms.

    It’s like beating a dead horse, but it’s a forever-changed ecosystem and you’re still thinking this is the 70s and 80s, pre-mussel invasion.

  34. Lets see, Michigan non-resident license sales 2009 (tourism) salmon (all species) 33,743 Restricted (native fish) 72,663 E-mail from MDNR Resident Michigan fishing license sales 2004 Restricted 514,928, salmon all species 55,803 source MDNR. So it seems twice as many tourists come here for native fish not salmon. And it seems your hundreds of thousands of salmon fisherman don’t feel the need to buy a license. However I don’t care if salmon crap silver dollars when they get in the boat, chinook require the intentional destruction of the natural ecosystem to exist! No one plan will please everybody, but only pleasing the salmon guys isn’t working. What’s best for one fish,one group or what’s best for the ecosystem and the common good? Your using the koolaid script you guys all say the same thing, you you you alewives, you you you blah blah blah. I have letters from the DNR’s same thing can’t do this, can’t do that, alewives blah blah blah same same. We don’t have time for these games, this is for all the marbles. There is no threat of too many native fish, I’ll stick with that.

  35. Scoop, I’ve made a few posts regarding fertilizer around the web, and most of them are with regards to not emphasizing the use of them in articles or posts. Let’s say Tom is a commercial fisherman of salmon in the Great Lakes. If he was, he couldn’t promote a socialistic stocking of salmon in the Lakes because it comes at the cost of tax payers dollars, and it encourages businesses that don’t compete well. That costs everyone. If you saw a woman hop off an orca at Sea World, and were given the chance to feed an elephant seal; would you criticize the seal for showing up or share a few sardines with him?

  36. “A mussel is a mussel is a mussel OK?”

    No. Quaggas are roughly 33 percent larger and unlike zebras, can attach to soft bottoms and thus are found DEEPER than perch or any predator that eats them feeds. You will never control them with native fish simply because the bulk of them are located deeper than perch live and because one mussel can produce one million eggs in a season.

    “Too many native fish would only be a threat to invasive species, but that’s what your afraid of.”

    Not at all. I’ve been trying to help you understand that the perch we both love were, ironically, the most abundant during the time period when alewives were also most abundant. You’re trying to tell me the alewives are keeping perch down. I’m trying to tell you that the lake’s ecosystem has been forever changed by the mussels, altering the bottom of the food chain. The perch that do find enough to eat are vulnerable to multiple predators in gin-clear water, unlike the “murky” waters we had when perch were last booming.

    “Keep cutting stocking, got too many salmon. That’s because nobody wants them.”

    If you truly believe that, you’re even more out of the loop than I imagined. Hundreds of thousands of anglers surrounding Lake Michigan target salmon. They’re somewhat abundant simply because of all the natural reproduction going on in both Michigan and Ontario waters (Huron fish have been moving into Lake Michigan for more than a decade). Salmon are the superstars of Lake Michigan, the most sought-after game fish by far spring through fall. Hardly anyone wants the native lake trout any more. Why? They don’t fight worth a darn and are the most chemically contaminated (and too “greasy” for some tastes; I like the small to medium ones pan-fried, grilled or smoked). The feds keep stocking them because they’re charged with native species restoration and also due to the 2000 Consent Decree for Michigan tribes that net them.

  37. A mussel is a mussel is a mussel OK? Scoop it is very simple. There is no threat of having too many native fish! We already have too many invasive species and a very very real threat of having too many Asian Carp. Too many native fish would only be a threat to invasive species, but that’s what your afraid of. But again there is no threat of having too many native fish. If we ever did (way long time away) wind up with too many Perch or Walleye you have millions of people willing to help you with your too many Perch and Walleye problem, they will pay you to help and they usually get overfished. Now salmon don’t seem to be threatened by overfishing at all. Keep cutting stocking, got too many salmon. That’s because nobody wants them. I did tell you the truth is wasted on you. According to the DNR Perch are banned from stocking for genetic concerns. It’s OK to plant fish who’s genes don’t belong in the lake, or protect invasive species genes, but native fish are banned. Sorry scoop doesn’t make sense.

  38. Tom, zebra mussels aren’t the major players any more. The bigger quaqqas have taken over, and they carpet the bottom to 480 feet of water or more with their highest densities said to be at 90 to 150 feet, much deeper than perch school and feed.

    If you want to raise and stock perch and can get state blessing, I say go for it. However, it’d be the proverbial drop in the bucket, and many of the perch would simply provide fine dining for bass, burbot, catfish, cormorants, muskies, pike and walleyes.

    You keep blaming alewives, and of course, we know they can eat larval perch. But check out the graph,”Commercial landings of yellow perch in the Great Lakes (U.S. and Canada) since 1950.” You will see huge commercial yellow perch harvests that took place between the mid-50s and the early 70s – some years over 20 million pounds of perch! – that coincided with the highest levels of alewife abundance in modern history. How could perch levels be so high at a time when there were exponentially more alewives than today? You will also notice the incredible decline in yellow perch in the 90s when mussels arrived en masses.

    Now, to tie this together: do you remember the water clarity issue I’ve been trying to get through to you??? Every predator of perch, of which there are many, is finding it much easier to find the tasty critters in today’s forever-changed, ultra-clear water. There is also less food available for tiny perch at the critical time due to mussels filtering it out. It’s a 1-2 knockout punch.

    You’d be better off trying to stock a private pond or an inland lake, and even then you’d be feeding predators – herons, snapping turtles and countless fish.

    Simply stated, there aren’t enough perch in the world to overwhelm a broken Great Lakes ecosystem taken over by mussels that live deeper than perch even swim.

  39. Wisconsin DNR say zebra mussels are No1# Perch food starting at 2 inches. Ohio DNR say gobies control food until native fish get to 2 inches, then Gobies are food. Ergo we need to help get native fish to 2 inches, which alewives gobies invasives etc.. are interfering with. Pretty simple. Perch have a very wide diet have adapted to all the new invasive food. Perch retain the least amount of PCB of any fish in the great lakes, and are the most popular fish that people want. The problem is recruitment, overfishing, invasive predation, invasives hogging food etc.. There is no such thing as a safe level of any invasive species, zero tolerence remember. Alewives kill more native fish in one year than VHS could kill in a thousand years, but your OK with that. If planting Perch won’t do any good as you say, and the worst thing is more Perch that according to you could never control mussels and gobies, thus never run out of food. Cutting limits and closed during spawn cost nothing, we have yet to ask for any money to stock perch. I will personally sponser 5 ponds myself (if needed). Why are you so dead set against helping the Perch survive? Nobody is coming here to fish for gobies and mussels but they would for Perch. It’s called Bio-mass conversion to a more desirable fish.

  40. Tom, we only have a fraction of the predators we used to? Where? What species? I’d guess there are more predators than EVER in Green Bay and Lake Michigan, when you take into account smallmouth bass, walleyes, muskies, northern pike, burbot, catfish, trout, salmon and more. Why do you believe perch would be a more effective predator than any of these other fish eaters? Whitefish, formerly a commercial species only, are now the top sport catch in winter for more than six years running, having lost their food out deep from the mussels and are now in 10-60 feet of water gorging on baby gobies. Still will never keep up.

    This from one of the links, says it all: “…another surprising finding of the study was that the gobies were most prevalent in sites that had a high number and diversity of native fish species …”

  41. Hi Tom. There were a couple of articles about the spread in Illinois they used the term Wildfire and then there’s the spread map. The stream trout will eat them,but thier numbers are not high enough, they seem to spread faster in the trout streams. Plus trout don’t guard thier eggs, that means they’re feeding gobies. I asked David what keeps gobies in check in thier native habitat, he said predators, pollution and disease. We’re cleaning up pollution, waiting until any invasive gets so thick they starve thus susceptible to disease is silly. We do have predators, but only a fraction of what once was, and recruitment is spotty at best, sometimes years. Overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, pick one or all, depleted our native fish populations, allowing invasives to thrive. Catfish seem to be holding thier own, in the asian carp, even with commercial fishing, but they guard thier eggs, same as gobies. A small group of people are against native fish restoration, even tho predator prey is how the whole thing works. Forgive my friend scoop, he thinks only zebra musels are bad, the rest are ok. All invasives eat something, and all things are connected in nature.

  42. Gobies are “good eats” for smallmouth bass, walleyes, whitefish and more, as evidenced by what we see in Green Bay waters. Yet even with incredible numbers of those predators, plus cormorants, perch, pike, muskies, brown trout and other goby gobblers, gobies are everywhere. Good news is the native fish appear to be holding their own, and in fact, catches have even improved for many species since the invasion.

    “Kornis says another surprising finding of the study was that the gobies were most prevalent in sites that had a high number and diversity of native fish species …”

    Longer feature:

  43. Hi Tom – I’ve been involved on a project that is tracking the spread of the round goby down the Illinois River and I also did some research looking at the habitat preference and distribution of round goby in eastern Michigan tributaries.

    While the round goby is in the Illinois River and moving towards the Mississippi, I wouldn’t consider their overall spread down the river fast. They have seemed to be stalled near Peoria the past few years. I am still concerned about their spread into the Mississippi River, but it appears as if we might have some time before that happens.

    Gobies were also present in a wide range and variety of tributaries to Lake Huron/Lake St. Clair – big streams, small streams, “nice” streams, and degraded streams. I really found a lot of the same patterns that Kornis has. They’re definitely in Michigan tributaries to the GL, but there’s a range of how abundant they are in all of the streams. Hopefully the native fish can hold their own again stream gobies.

  44. It is my understanding the gobies are spreading towards the Mississippi like wildfire, right under the Asian carp, Asian Carp getting all the ink. Gobies guard thier eggs, fry don’t drift in the current, safe from Asian carp. We have predators for gobies, they never grow too big, have no spines easy food. However the gobies and other invasives are keeping them out of the game. We could learn from the goby, protect our native fish spawn attempts, help them have a ten fold increase. Michigan streams are filling up as well. A friend caught gobies in the Baldwin river. Went to the bait shop to tell them. Thier response was “Yea we heard about that” No biggie I guess?

  45. A good g on the head and back into the water into the water you go!
    They have a tendency to sink quickly, but the gulls are pretty quick.
    Hope someone has a better idea.

  46. Pingback: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

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