Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Fisheries Research Report No.1843, 1976

The Sport Fisheries of the Twenty Largest Inland Lakes in Michigan

Percy W. Laarman

      Abstract.-The 20 largest inland lakes in Michigan vary in size from 5, 652 acres (Long Lake, Alpena and Presque Isle counties) to 20, 044 acres (Houghton Lake, Roscommon County). Fisheries surveys which include netting to determine relative abundance of fish and measures of water chemistry and temperatures have been made on all of the lakes except Fletcher Impoundment (Alpena and Montmorency counties) and Portage Lake (Houghton County). Water chemistry data are lacking on these two bodies of water. Since the initial surveys, subsequent nettings to evaluate fish management programs have been done on most lakes. Due to the lack of standardization of gear and establishment of index stations in the past, it is difficult to determine increases or decreases in the fish populations in most of the lakes. Creel censuses have been by Conservation Officers, post-card surveys, and on a few lakes by special census efforts. In general, no trends of decreases in catch or quality of fishing are apparent. Most management efforts in the past have consisted of stocking fish, changing fishing regulations, or installing brush shelters. Usually these management practices have not been adequately evaluated. Present day managers are recommending regular netting schedules at established index stations to determine changes in fish populations, and creel censuses to determine amount of fishing and anglers' success rate. Implementation of these recommendations will enable fisheries managers to properly evaluate management practices.