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Muskellunge Egg Collection is Underway

Great Lakes muskellunge eggs currently are being collected from the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. These fish will be reared at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan and Thompson State Fish Hatchery near Manistique and stocked in Michigan waters this fall.

In 2021, approximately 232,000 eggs were collected from the Detroit River. Those eggs produced nearly 30,000 fall fingerlings that were stocked in 19 inland lakes and rivers. No muskellunge are stocked in the Detroit River because the abundant Lake St. Clair-Detroit River muskellunge population is supported entirely by natural reproduction.

“The DNR’s goal this year is to collect at least 400,000 eggs to meet our target of 40,000 fall fingerlings for stocking our state’s waters,” said Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager.

To collect the eggs, mature muskellunge are captured with electro-fishing gear in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. Collecting Great Lakes muskellunge is difficult in these areas because of the physical conditions associated with open water, especially in the spring.

As a safety precaution, the DNR requests boats on the water avoid coming close to the electro-fishing boat during nighttime shocking work.

“When the generator is running and the boat’s floodlights are on, we are collecting fish using electricity near the boat and we want to make sure the public stays clear of the electric field for safety,” said Jim Francis, the DNR’s Lake Erie basin coordinator. “Fish captured for the egg collection efforts are released unharmed after handling by hatchery personnel.”

To learn more about fishing in Michigan and the Great Lakes muskellunge management effort, go to

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