Michigan Fall Fish Stocking Added Over 1 Million Fish to State Waters

Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — February 7, 2024

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the totals from its 2023 fall fish stocking efforts. The DNR stocked six different species – totaling 1,076,204 fish that weighed 14.5 tons – at 103 locations throughout the state.

“It was another outstanding fall fish stocking season that will provide enhanced fishing opportunities throughout Michigan,” said Ed Eisch, assistant chief of the DNR Fisheries Division. “When added to our successful spring and summer stocking efforts, that brings the total for 2023 to more than 10.4 million fish stocked in Michigan’s waters.”

A netful of healthy fall walleye fingerlings, reared in a Michigan DNR pond in Roscommon County, are ready to be stocked as part of the DNR’s fall walleye stocking efforts. / Michigan DNR Photo

The number and type of fish stocked vary by hatchery, as each facility’s ability to rear fish differs because of water supplies and temperature. In Michigan, there are six state and three cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed by fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered at specific times and locations for stocking to ensure their success. Most fish in Michigan are stocked in the spring.

Fall 2023 fish stocking consisted of six species: brook trout, coho salmon, lake trout, steelhead strain rainbow trout, walleye, and muskellunge.

  • Marquette State Fish Hatchery (Marquette) stocked 35,782 fall fingerling and adult brook that weighed a combined 3,876 pounds. These fish were stocked at 42 locations, both in the Upper and Lower peninsulas. Marquette also stocked 290 adult lake trout that weighed 1,800 pounds at three locations in the U.P.
  • Platte River State Fish Hatchery (Traverse City) stocked four locations, in both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, with 416,474 coho salmon weighing 11,840 pounds.
  • Thompson State Fish Hatchery (Manistique) stocked three locations with 237,091 fall fingerling steelhead that weighed 2,375 pounds. Thompson also stocked 18,293 Great Lakes strain muskellunge that weighed 2,036 pounds at 11 locations in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.
  • Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (west of Kalamazoo) stocked six locations with 3,320 Great Lakes strain muskellunge fall fingerlings that weighed 476 pounds. Wolf Lake also stocked 344,860 fall fingerling steelhead weighing 5,355 pounds in four locations.

Fisheries management units also stocked fall fingerling walleyes last year:

  • Southern Lake Michigan FMU: 13,428 Muskegon strain fall fingerlings weighing 817 pounds in 15 locations.
  • Central Lake Michigan FMU: 3,793 Muskegon strain fall fingerlings weighing 281 pounds in three locations.
  • Lake Erie FMU: 623 Muskegon strain fall fingerlings weighing 59 pounds in Lakeville Lake.
  • Northern Lake  Michigan FMU: 2,250 same-strain fall fingerlings weighing 108 pounds in Little Bay De Noc.

In general, fish are reared in Michigan’s state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.

Visit Michigan Fish Hatcheries

The DNR welcomes visitors to its state fish hatcheries and interpretative centers to witness firsthand the fish-rearing process and to learn about Michigan’s waters. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Hatcheries.

To find out if any fish were stocked in your favorite fishing spot or to discover a new one, visit the DNR’s fish stocking database at michigandnr.com/fishstock/.

A Michigan DNR fisheries technician stocks fall fingerling brook trout in Rock Lake, Alger County. / Michigan DNR Photo