The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking volunteers to assist in placing wood habitat structures in Chicagon Lake (Iron County) on Sunday, March 2, to provide additional spawning habitat for muskellunge.
Chicagon Lake is a popular and economically important body of water in the Upper Menominee River Watershed. The DNR actively manages this 1,100-acre waterbody for several coolwater species, including muskellunge.
Muskellunge were first stocked into Chicagon Lake in 1965. Subsequent surveys documented evidence of natural reproduction, indicating Chicagon Lake provided some suitable spawning habitat; however, muskellunge natural recruitment has remained inadequate to sustain the population.
Wood structures are proposed based on success with this type of habitat enhancement in Wisconsin waters. Wood is thought to keep muskellunge eggs from sinking into the sediment and being smothered, provides a better habitat for egg development, and is the preferred spawning habitat for this species. In addition, the installation of wood habitat will benefit many other fish by providing seasonal refuge and cover. By encouraging natural reproduction of muskellunge, the DNR will move toward the overall goal of promoting self-sustaining fisheries and, in turn, provide additional opportunities for muskellunge anglers.
This project is possible thanks to $10,000 from the We Energies’ Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. This fund was established as part of the Wilderness Shores Settlement Agreement to enhance aquatic habitat in the area of influence of We Energies’ hydroelectric projects.
Volunteers will assist the DNR and its project partners: Boundary Waters Musky Club, Iron County Watershed Coalition, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance, and other local entities. The project is slated for Sunday, March 2, from 8 a.m. to noon, Central time. Volunteers will meet at the Chicagon Lake public access site located off County Road 424.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Drew YoungeDyke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-346-6486. Volunteers will get a free T-shirt, a digital subscription to Michigan OutofDoors Magazine, and lunch. This volunteer effort is part of Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ On the Ground initiative, which is supported by grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation, Enbridge Energy Partners and the DNR.