Biologists and experts from Michigan Department of Natural Resources and United States Fish and Wildlife Service discussed the state of the Great Lakes fisheries Thursday evening at Metropolitan Beach.
Nearly 100 citizens, many of whom are avid anglers, attended the event hoping to get a glimpse into the state of fisheries' program in the Great Lakes region. They also sought an update on several invasive aquatic species that threaten the waterways.
"A critical component of the health of the water is how well these fisheries are doing," Congresswoman Candice Miller said.
Chesterfield resident Colby English, 29, is an avid angler on Lake St. Clair, which he thinks has changed in the last decade. The panel of experts agreed.
"The ecology of Lake St. Clair has changed dramatically," MDNR Lake Huron Basin Commission Todd Grischke said. "It's very different than what it was, very different."
Invasive species such as zebra mussels have much to do with this, Grischke said. And, despite efforts to control these invasive species, it's an uphill, ongoing battle.
"Once these invasive species are there, you're never done trying to control them," Grischke said. "That's why you don't even want that next invasive species in at all."
In Lake St. Clair, for example, the result of the zebra mussel species introduction is a clearer lake, making it difficult for fish such as Walleye to thrive.
Conversely, experts told the crowd, species such as Largemouth Bass, Perch and Muskie are doing well.
Programs such as mass marking (tagging fish), stocking and population assessments help the Michigan DNR and U.S Fish and Wildlife officials assess the state of the fisheries.
"We're learning from the positive things and the negative things," U.S Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Jim Boase said.
Port Huron angler Donald Krawczyk, 77, said the meeting was worth the trip.
"These things are real informative for everybody," Krawczyk said. "It's nice to know that they're on top of things so that my grandchildren's kids can enjoy fishing the Great Lakes."