Muskellunge production hits 20,000 with UP Hatchery renovation

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MANISTIQUE, MI – After a renovation, the Thompson State Hatchery exceeded expectations by producing 20,000 muskellunge fry which were stocked in Michigan.

Over the years, the Manistique Hatchery produced millions of fish to meet the state’s management and recreational needs, but the facility was aging. In response, the state completed a renovation, including a new cold water facility and pond complex, in spring 2021, which is already seeing a return on investment with increased fish production.

Muskie fry like this were successfully raised at the renovated Thompson State Hatchery in the summer of 2021 and stocked at multiple Michigan sites in November 2021. The facility produced 20,000 fry, exceeding 18,000 waits.David Kenion | Michigan Department of Natural Resources

With the upgrades, the hatchery was expected to produce 18,000 fall muskellunge. Instead, 20,000 were harvested and stored in November.

It’s a “much-needed boost” to production statewide, said Ed Eisch, DNR’s director of fish production. “The fish were healthy and strong, and the harvesting operation went very well.”

RELATED: DNR stocked Michigan waters with 13.5 tons of fish in fall 2021, see where

This spring, the cold water facility and ponds will be used for walleye production, with an expectation of 250,000 fingerlings. The hatchery also produces chinook salmon and rainbow trout, which will also benefit from upgrades “for decades to come,” Eisch said.

The cold water facility includes a hatchery building with a biosecure room to receive and disinfect eggs; an egg incubation and hatching room with basins to receive hatched walleye fry; and the Lined Ponds Complex consisting of two 1-acre ponds and four half-acre ponds.

Thompson State Hatchery

The incubation room at the new cold water facility at the Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Manistique, Michigan. It is part of a series of facility upgrades to help boost walleye and muskellunge production statewide. The project, along with the Little Manistee River Spillway upgrades – all completed in April 2021 – were recently recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan with its Award for Excellence in Engineering and Surveying.Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Two new production wells supply breeding water. The incubation water can be heated or cooled to manage the timing of fry hatching, and the electrical infrastructure that supports it is backed up by a new generator that starts automatically in the event of a loss of main power.

Production ponds are covered with netting to keep predators away. A lined solar pool allows preheated water to be introduced into the rearing pools to avoid thermal shocks to the fish.

The hatchery upgrades were designed with engineering consultant HDR. The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan recently recognized the project with its Engineering and Surveying Excellence Merit Award.

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