Marine News from the Great Lakes

This Fall: Surplus Salmon Available in Michigan

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017

The public again this year is invited to purchase surplus salmon that has been harvested at Michigan Department of Natural Resources weirs located in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Seasonal salmon runs include large numbers of fish returning to their native streams to spawn and die. The DNR maintains multiple sites (weirs) where fisheries biologists and technicians collect eggs and milt (sperm) from Chinook and coho salmon for use in state fish hatcheries. Once egg-take needs are met, fish in prime physical condition are made available to the public by American-Canadian Fisheries, a private vendor which assists the DNR with the salmon harvest.

ACF harvests the salmon for human and pet-food markets, as well as excess eggs for bait and caviar markets. ACF pays the DNR a flat per-pound rate for the salmon and eggs collected. They then make suitable-quality fish available wholesale to distributors who market the fish. All of this year’s distributors are located in the northern Lower Peninsula.

"We work closely with ACF to maintain a professional approach to dealing with the returning salmon and to ensure the harvest is done in the most environmentally friendly way," said Aaron Switzer, the DNR’s northern Lower Peninsula hatchery manager. "The number of fish returning to our rivers is large enough that the DNR needs the assistance of private partners like ACF to help in this area of fishery management."

The price of the available fish is set by each individual retailer, not the DNR. The DNR recommends that those who are interested in purchasing salmon contact the respective vendors (listed below) directly to determine when a purchase can be made and for how much.

The Michigan Department of Community Health recommends using caution when eating certain kinds and sizes of fish from Michigan lakes and streams. For current advisories, the Eat Safe Fish Guide should be consulted. It is available online at or by contacting MDCH at 1-800-648-6942.

Here is the list of Michigan retailers this year selling salmon harvested at DNR weirs:
  • Andy’s Tackle Box: 14573 Coates Highway Brethren, MI 49619; 231-477-5737
  • AuSable River Store: 680 W. River Road Oscoda, MI 48750; 989-739-5332
  • Hank and Sons: 16441 Coates Highway Brethren, MI 49609; 231-477-5450
  • Lixie’s Fish Market: 2699 Lixie Beach East Tawas, MI 48060; 989-362-5791
  • Pappy’s Bait & Tackle: 17092 Caberfae Highway Wellston, MI 49689; 231-848-4142
  • R & J Resort: 3070 Keith Road Brethren, MI 49619; 231-477-5549
  • Tippy Dam Campground: 17974 Old House Road Wellston, MI 49689; 231-848-4448
  • Wellman’s Bait & Tackle: 410 S. State St. #309 Oscoda, MI 48750; 989-739-2869

tags: Dept of Natural Resources, Fishing, Recipes

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