Recent changes in the deep-water fish populations of Lake Michigan

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society



The deep-water fish fauna of Lake Michigan consisted of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), burbot (Lota lota maculosa), seven species of chubs or deep-water ciscoes (Leucichthys spp.), and the deep-water sculpin (Myoxocephalus quadricornis). Other species occupied the deep-water zone but were not typically part of the fauna.

Lake trout, burbot, and a well established commercial fishery held the chub population in somewhat of a balance until the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) destroyed the lake trout and burbot. Released from predation, one species of chub (L. hoyi) increased until its abundance in 1955 was 347 percent of that in 1930–1933. It is the smallest and most slowly growing of the chubs in the lake. Other chubs were reduced in abundance (1954–1955 abundance only 37 percent of that of 1930–1932) by an increased fishing pressure and by sea lamprey predation which shifted to them when lake trout and burbot became practically extinct.

Selective destruction of the large chubs reduced the average length by 1.5 and 2.2 inches in the northern and southern portions of the lake, respectively, and practically eliminated two largest species (L. johannae and L. nigripinnis). Chubs over 10 inches long made up 72 percent of the catches in 1930–1932, but only 21.5 percent in 1954–1955.


Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Recent changes in the deep-water fish populations of Lake Michigan
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1577/1548-8659(1956)86[393:RCITDF]2.0.CO;2
Volume 86
Year Published 1957
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 393
Last page 408
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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