50th anniversary of Michigan’s salmon program to be celebrated

salmon program

Join the DNR on Monday, April 4 to celebrate 50 years of salmon stocking in Michigan. Included in the event will be Dr. Howard Tanner – pictured here in 1966 – to commemoratively stock coho salmon in the Platte River

LANSING, MI – The Department of Natural Resources will host a celebratory event at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery on Monday, April 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Michigan’s Pacific salmon stocking program.

On April 2, 1966, the DNR implemented a plan to stock coho salmon in Lake Michigan – a decision that effectively changed the face of the state’s sportfishing industry. This year marks the 50th anniversary of these salmon stocking efforts and the celebration will coincide with the annual stocking of coho salmon from the hatchery in Beulah.

The public is welcome to attend this event, held from 11 a.m. to noon, to see several special guests provide remarks to recognize the occasion and to watch thousands of coho salmon stocked into the Platte River. Some of these guests will include Dr. Howard Tanner, the former DNR director and Fisheries Division chief who played a critical role in the development of the state’s salmon program; DNR Director Bill Moritz; and local legislators.

“Our long history with Pacific salmon is part of the reason Michigan’s fisheries are known as world-class,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “It’s exciting to look back on the past 50 years rearing and stocking these fish and imagining where the next 50 years will take us.”

The Platte River State Fish Hatchery is located at 15210 US 31. Hatchery tours are also available to visitors from 10 to 11 a.m.

Michigan’s salmon program was developed in an effort to address the decline in lake trout (previously the top Great Lakes predator) and to control an exploding alewife population. Although the state’s salmon fishery has changed over time, it continues to provide excellent fishing opportunities to anglers and exposes the numerous other on-the-water experiences available to those who pursue them, i.e. bass, yellow perch, steelhead and others.