East Chicago Chinook salmon project succeeds in first year

Courtesy photo from DNR

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:

For immediate release: May 20, 2024

East Chicago Chinook salmon project succeeds in first year

The first year of a cooperative project between the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Lake County Fish and Game Protective Association (LCF&G) to improve Chinook salmon fishing in Lake Michigan successfully concluded earlier this month.


The project used a floating enclosure built by LCF&G to acclimate Chinook salmon stocked by the DNR at East Chicago Marina. The fish were stocked into the enclosure on April 22 and successfully released by LCF&G on May 4.

“We’re very pleased with the first year of this effort,” said DNR Lake Michigan fisheries research biologist Ben Dickinson. “Lake County members put in a lot of work and were excellent partners. We rely on stakeholder groups and anglers to assist us with management efforts, and when both DNR and stakeholders work together, the resource always benefits.”

Juvenile Chinook salmon, called smolts, spend several days acclimating to their new environment after being stocked before swimming to Lake Michigan. They feed for several years in the lake and then return to their stocking site as mature adults to spawn. The goals of the project are to protect the smolts from being eaten by birds and other fish in the first several days after stocking and help them imprint on the harbor so they can return as large, adult fish anglers can catch.

“This project perfectly aligns with the values and mission of our organization,” said LCF&G president John Dembowski. “We’re proud to have a direct impact on improving our world-class fishery for years to come and are excited about enhancing our working relationship with the DNR.”

For more information about Lake Michigan fishing, visit on.IN.gov/lake-michigan-fishing.

Learn about purchasing a fishing license at on.IN.gov/fishinglicense. 

To view more DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

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