MCBA Scheduled Board Meetings for 2015

Scheduled Board Meetings for 2015:

January 25, 2015 – Clare, MI – Doherty Hotel – 10:00 am.
April 19, 2015 – Clare, MI – Doherty Hotel – 10:00 am.
October 4, 2015 – Clare, MI – Doherty Hotel – 10:00 am.
October 18, 2015 – Traverse City, MI. -Great Wolf Lodge – 10:30 am.

All board meetings are open to all MCBA members who would like to attend. Please let us know in advance if you plan on attending so we have enough materials on hand to pass out. Contact any board member or call: 800-MCBA-971

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Researchers discover naturally reproducing Atlantic salmon in the upper Great Lakes

web_atlantic_salmon_fryLake Superior State University researchers have determined that Atlantic salmon are naturally reproducing in the St. Mary’s River.

The prized game fish were originally native to Lake Ontario, but experienced a massive population decline by the late 1800’s. Today, Atlantic salmon are stocked in the St. Mary’s River and in other parts of the upper Great Lakes.

Though the Atlantic salmon population remained healthy when maintained by the St. Mary’s fishery, the salmon population did not take root naturally, apparently due to a thiamine deficiency.

While conducting research for his senior undergraduate thesis on sturgeon, Stefan Tucker found what he suspected were Atlantic salmon fry in the St. Mary’s River. His identification was later confirmed by University of Michigan taxonomist Gerald Smith. Tucker and a team of researchers concluded that the Atlantic salmon population is indeed naturally reproducing.

A press release from Lake Superior State University explains the implications of this finding:

The discovery is not only exciting for those at LSSU, the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, and others who have been involved with stocking Atlantic salmon in the upper Great Lakes for more than two decades, but also to anyone who follows the changing dynamics of the Great Lakes, especially in relation to lake trout and salmonids.

Though this discovery answers one question, it begs others.

Tucker concluded his thesis by stating that “the extent of natural reproduction and mechanisms influencing reproductive success are unclear and warrant further attention.”

- Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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New Website Coming soon

We’re under going a website revision and are set to launch soon. When completed the new website will be smartphone ready.

As a result there is a moratorium on all web updates for 10 days.




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Lake Michigan lake trout regulations

At public meetings in March and April, the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Fisheries Division staff will present information and take comments on possible changes to lake trout size and daily catch limits for northern Lake Michigan lake trout management zones MM-3, 4 and 5. Comments received will inform potential lake trout regulation changes in 2015.

Wednesday, April 16, at 5 p.m. at the East Bay Township Hall – MOVED TO NEW DATE BELOW:
1965 N. Three Mile Road, Traverse City

Wednesday, April 23, at 5 p.m. at the Frankfort City Hall
412 Main St., Frankfort Continue reading

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Spring Lake Huron fishery workshops

Spring Lake Huron fishery workshops offer current research and information about the fishery

The status of the Lake Huron fishery for the coming season is the topic of three upcoming fisheries workshops in the region.

The status of the Lake Huron fishery for the coming season is the topic of three upcoming fisheries workshops in the region.

In recent years, the Lake Huron fishery has undergone dramatic ecological changes, resulting from introductions and impacts of aquatic invasive species. Yet, much has been done by research and management agencies to understand and respond to these food web changes, such as identifying which fish thrive in Lake Huron’s altered ecosystem and adjusting stocking strategies and even species of fish stocked. Anglers, businesses, and communities depending on this fishery have adapted, too, targeting different—and even a wider variety of species—along with sometimes new fishing strategies to catch these fish. These collective efforts have aimed at reclaiming social and economic values from a Lake Huron fishery that has been changed environmentally, and are resulting in improving attitudes and value in what Lake Huron fishing has to offer us still today.

Because of this, Lake Huron anglers gearing up for spring fishing opportunities may be wondering about last year’s fishing trends, or where are the prospects when fishing Lake Huron this year? When Chinook salmon struggled, why do steelhead and Atlantic salmon seem to fare better in this altered Lake Huron ecosystem? Given food web changes, what is the outlook for forage fish populations (or the ‘food supply’) necessary for these prized predator fish? What’s happening with native fish populations, such as recovering lake trout populations and amazing walleye fishing in Lake Huron?  For answers to these questions and more, several opportunities exist this spring to hear directly from the fisheries experts who gather this information.


Workshop dates and locations include:

Port Huron  Apr 9, 2014 (Wednesday, 6–9 p.m.)  Charles A. Hammond American Legion Hall, 1026 6th Street, Port Huron, MI  48060

Alpena   Apr 22, 2014 (Tuesday, 6–9 p.m.)  NOAA Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena, MI  49707

Cedarville   Apr 23, 2014 (Wednesday, 6–9 p.m.)  Les Cheneaux Sportsman’s Club, M-134, Cedarville, MI 49719

These workshops serve as a valuable networking and educational opportunity for all involved:

  • Recreational anglers have the opportunity to become better-educated anglers – learning about feeding trends of predator fish species may prove valuable in deciding where to fish or what lures to put into play while fishing this year.
  • Fishery businesses— sportfishing charters, commercial fishing, and bait shops— gain insights relating to Lake Huron fisheries resources around which their business depends. This information may prove useful in adapting business strategies, ranging from fishing practices to business marketing, and information that might be passed along in educating customers about the resource.
  • In trade for the informational updates they share, governmental research and management agencies value insights and input from this dialogue with anglers and citizen stakeholders on various fisheries management topics. The effectiveness of fisheries research and management, as well as community values gained from the Lake Huron fishery are enhanced through these Continue reading
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2014 Directory Web Updates complete

Captains – the MCBA web listings are run from a database. It has been updated, refreshed and posted to the web. We make mistakes so if you don’t see your name and you have paid and have your 2014 drug card let us know. If your email, port or anything else on your listing is incorrect we apologize. To contact us please use the “web updates” link above.

Thank you

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Moratorium on Web Updates

Captains, the MCBA site is run from a database. Presently the database is going through a review and scrub to make certain all the new information entered from your applications is reflected properly. As a result, no corrections to current listings can be made at this time. Once the database is uploaded, around January 10-13th all captains who have not paid will be removed and all others will see corrected listings.

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Increased Processing Times for Credentials, Security Endorsements, and Services

The National Maritime Center has released the following update.

This may affect your license renewal. (PDF)

The National Maritime Center (NMC) is presently experiencing elevated processing times and inventories for merchant mariner credential (MMC) applications, and other products and services. Those increases can be partly attributed to the recent lapse of appropriations (government furlough) and the surge of applicants seeking security endorsements required by January 1st, 2014. During the first 6 months of 2013, the NMC was providing an average of 500 security endorsements per month. Since September, the NMC has averaged nearly 3000 security endorsement applications and has issued over 2400 endorsements monthly. These submissions are in addition to our normal expected MMC applications. As a result, the NMC currently has a standing inventory level of application requests that has not been experienced since 2009; therefore, customers may note an increase in the time it takes to process applications and to respond to customer inquiries in the Call Center. The system generated e-mails that mariners receive indicating potential production and delivery dates are not accurate at this time. We are looking into resolving this discrepancy.

Following the lapse in appropriations in October, initial steps to reprioritize credentialing evaluation and production efforts were enacted, and those efforts continue. The NMC has significant experience responding to and managing periods and volumes of increased credential, product, and service requests, and has implemented additional contingency plans within our legal and operational authorities to address those products and services that are being negatively impacted. We hope such efforts will reduce our elevated response and processing times in the near future.

As always, you are highly encouraged to continue sending in your applications for all products and services in a timely fashion, and we will do everything to restore the same level of product and service delivery you have become accustomed to. Thank you for your patience while we process your requests. We will continue to update you as we move forward in this effort.

/J.P. Novotny/
Jeffrey P. Novotny
Captain, U. S. Coast Guard Commanding Officer

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Culinary Tourism Alliance invites you

Get in on the ground floor of the next BIG Michigan promotion …

The success of Michigan Catch and Cook program has opened up many new opportunities to partner with your local restaurants and extend your customer’s fishing experience into port communities, and that is good for everyone!

Now Michigan is taking it one step further.

Michigan is on the cusp of some delicious developments and you’re invited to help foster it to fruition! Join up for the first Culinary Tourism Alliance meeting for Prosperity Region #2 (see regional prosperity initiative map).

Region #2 -Initial Meeting
December 17, 2013
Boyne District Library Community Room

Culinary Tourism is a growing trend in tourism, as consumers spend an increasing amount of time and money engaging in authentic and unique food and beverage experiences when they travel. An increase in media coverage for food information (Food Network etc.) and the internet have helped consumers pursue this area of interest.

The Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance is an initiative to raise awareness about the economic benefits of promoting Michigan as a culinary destination. To move the initiative further, regional Culinary Tourism Alliances are forming to identify, create, and promote unique culinary opportunities around Michigan.

You’re invited, please join up for the first meeting of the Region #2 Alliance. To participate, simply send your RSVP to

Contact: Maia Turek
Recreation Programmer
DNR Parks and Recreation

Thank you for your contributions to culinary tourism in Pure Michigan and we look forward to seeing you in Boyne!

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2013 Annual Meeting Highlights


GRAND RAPIDS By Capt. Terry R. Walsh

The Crown Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids played host to MCBA’s 2013 annual conference the weekend of October 25-27. The three-day event started with the traditional Friday evening social hour sponsored by MCBA.

Saturday morning’s workshops kicked off with an excellent presentation, “Marketing Your Business,” by Michigan Sea Grant Agent Brandon Schroeder. “The captain’s website is crucial, as 26-percent of clients used it to locate a captain,” Schroeder said. “Another 28.3-percent used MCBA’s website. Research also shows customers chose a boat based on the captain’s posted profile.”

Promoting your clients’ success is important . “Capture the moment by immediately taking their pictures with freshly caught fish, and post them (with permission) on your website as soon as possible,” Schroeder said. “You Tube and Face Book can also greatly expand your business.”

Schroeder also offered these tips: get media exposure with TV invites; write articles and post fishing reports; set up an on-line blog; send clients’ pictures to their newspapers; and don’t forget the “gimmies”: hats, pencils, business magnets, and pencils. Donating a trip is also good advertisement, and explore working out a package deal with a hotel or motel.

Western Michigan Sea Grant Agent, Dan O’Keefe, is deeply involved in a “Mass Marking of Chinook Salmon” study. “All 2011 stocked Chinook salmon were marked,” O’Keefe said. “Therefore, all returning planted salmon in 2014 will be marked, and will provide a wealth of information on Chinook movement, and it will help determine the best future stocking sites. For example, the study this year at St. Joe showed a large number of Chinook salmon came from Wisconsin while there were no fish from any of the St. Joe plants.”

Chief of Fisheries, Jim Dexter, said, “We spend 28 million a year studying fish movement and returns throughout the Great Lakes. The purpose is to maximize fish plants at the most optimal sites and avoid those sites with poor return records.” Dexter also provided an overview of the 2013 fisheries in each of the Great Lakes.

“Lake Superior had a good “mixed bag” this year and the overall fishery remains strong,” Dexter said. “However, the brown trout program in the western part of the UP was dismal, and we’re questioning continuing it.” Dexter also noted the overall food web in Superior is healthy but declining.

Lake Huron’s lake trout population is so healthy that plants, which would save two million dollars a year, may soon be suspended. “Wild fish are really beginning to dominate this fishery through exceptional natural reproduction,” Dexter said.

Walleye are now the dominant fishery in Lake Huron, and Dexter labeled the fishery, especially Saginaw Bay, as “incredible”. He also added that steelhead and Atlantic salmon are providing decent fisheries, and that “we are continuing to increase Atlantic salmon plants through 2015.”

“Lake Erie walleye were down a bit this year,” Dexter said, “but the perch fishery was very strong.” He also noted, “Lake St. Clair was named by Bass Masters as the number one small mouth bass fishery in the country. Lake Erie was named number five.”

“The biggest change in any of the fisheries was Lake Michigan’s disappointing Chinook salmon returns,” Dexter said. “We had bigger fish—fish 30 pounds and over were caught all summer—just a lot fewer fish. Going into 2014, the lake’s Chinook fishery is uncertain at best.”

The uncertainty lies in the weak alewife base, the Chinook’s 99-percent preferred diet. Only 2010 and 2012 year classes are available for hungry salmon. Dexter said the 2011 alewife year class is “nonexistent”, and that the 2013 year class is “small and could face a poor survival rate.” Dexter also noted that “Large areas of the lake have no forage base, and bloaters and rainbow smelt populations remain low.”

Stephanie Ariganello, Michigan Sea Grant Social Media Specialist, presented a number of ways captains can promote their businesses using Face Book, Twitter, and Instagram.

“The trick is to be really focused on the message you want to get across and stay within 150 characters,” Ariganello said. “It’s very important to have a goal for the posting you want to make.”

Ariganello offered the following guidelines to consider with every social media posting:
1) Why am I posting?
2) Who is it for?
3) What do I want to achieve?
4) How else can I say this?
5) Where is my posting most effective?
She followed up the questions with in-depth examples. Before the day was over, a number of captains had gotten help setting up their own social media sites.

Donna Wesander, DNR Fisheries Specialist, brought captains up-to-date on filling out their catch report forms. She said a few more captains every year (34 %) are using “On-Line Reporting”, but reminded all that a paper copy still has to be maintained on the vessel. She offered to help any captain wanting to use the On-Line Reporting. She also encouraged captains to be more careful filling the forms out—electronic or paper.

“Charter captains provide us with some of the most reliable data available for fisheries management, so it’s critical that information is accurate,” Wesander said. “If it’s not, I have to send the forms back to you to get the correct information.”

Tim O’Brien from USGS Great Lakes Science Center, which operates five research vessels and four field stations covering all the Great Lakes, provided the latest data from the study of thousands of stomachs of salmon, lake trout, and walleye as well as the acoustic and trawling samples conducted on Lake Huron.

“The alewife crash of 2004 has shown no sign of recovery,” O’Brien said. “Very few adults showed up in our survey. Rainbow smelt, though not as bad as alewife, remain suppressed, and the fish are small. On a positive note, bloaters are showing signs of increase, and round goby are holding steady.”

Trawling samples revealed a “huge increase in juvenile lake trout, the highest increase we’ve seen since 2010,” O’Brien said. “Lake trout stomachs indicate they are thriving well on rainbow smelt, goby, and some scant alewife.”

Chinook salmon continue to prefer alewife, and if not available, will leave the area or starve to death rather than switch diets, according to O’Brien. “After what happened with Lake Huron’s alewife crash, it doesn’t bode well for Lake Michigan’s salmon right now,” O’Brien said.

The walleye diet study indicates, “They are consuming roughly 50-percent yellow perch, the balance of their diet being round goby, smelt, and other baitfish,” O’Brien concluded.

Chuck Pistis was the evening dinner speaker, and spoke of his long, and storied relationship with MCBA. Afterward, President Walsh presented him with an “Honorary Captain for Life Membership” in the Michigan Charter Boat Association.
Continue reading

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