CLEVELAND - At one time, lake trout ( Salvelinus namaycush) were relatively abundant in Lake Erie, especially in the lake's deeper central and eastern basins.
Now, they are listed as a "species of concern." Pollution and predation by invasive sea lampreys have drastically reduced their numbers in Ohio's portion of Lake Erie. Now, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is trying to reverse that.
The ODNR has announced a pilot restocking plan to return lake trout to Lake Erie. The state, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has received 120,000 lake trout fingerlings, which have been stocked at various locations around Lake Erie. The trout fingerlings came from a hatchery in Pennsylvania.
Each of the young trout have been tagged, so fisheries' biologists can track their growth, survival, and movement through the lake. People who catch the fish are urged to report their catches to the ODNR so the state can measure the success of the program.
Lake trout are a species that prefer cold, clean water. They will most likely be found in the deeper sections of Lake Erie. Lake trout are prized by sport fishermen. They are a slow-growing, long-lived fish that don't reach maturity until they are seven years old.
The ODNR will monitor the survival and reproduction rate of the fish to determine whether to continue the program.