Self-sustaining populations of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush have returned to most areas in Lake Superior, but progress toward achieving historic commercial yields has been difficult to measure because of unrecorded losses to predation by sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus and to fisheries. Consequently, we developed restoration targets (catch per effort, CPE; geometric mean number per kilometer of 114-mm stretch-meaure gill net during 1929-1943, when historic yields were sustained) from linear relationships between CPE in commercial and assessment fisheries in Michigan. Target CPEs for lake trout restoration were higher and less variable than the modern CPEs in all areas. Modern CPEs generally increased during the 1970s and early 1980s but declined during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Modern CPEs were highest in western Michigan from the Keweenaw Peninsula to Marquette (71 to 81% of target CPEs), but coefficients of variation (CV,SD/mean) of mean CPEs were 1.4 to 2.4 times greater than target CVs. Around Munising, the modern CPE was lower (41% of the target CPE), whereas the CV was 1.9 times greater than the target CV. Around Grand Marais, the modern CPE was lowest among all areas (17% of the target CPE), but the CV was nearly the same (1.1 times the target CV). In Whitefish Bay, the modern CPE was only 28% of the target CPE and the CV was 9.0 times greater, though the modern period was based on only the years 1979-1982 and 1984-1985. Further progress in restoration in most areas can be achieved only if fishery managers adequately protect existing stocks of wild fish from sea lamprey predation and fishery exploitation.
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Abundance indices for determining the status of lake trout restoration in Michigan waters of Lake Superior