Raising a Legacy: Young hatchery fish planted in state waters are the seeds of Michigan’s multi-billion dollar recreational fishery

The Outdoor Journal

By Howard Meyerson

When winter snows drift across the fruit farms and asparagus fields outside of Mattawan and the region’s fertile soils lie dormant and frozen, Martha Wolgamood is typically busy tending to a crop of young fish that will be planted in Michigan waters come spring. They are the seeds for the state’s multi-billion dollar recreational fishery.

Wolgamood manages the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery, one of six operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The facilities provide a crucial boost to recreational fishing in Michigan. More than 19.5 million hatchery fish were stocked at 728 locations on Michigan waters in 2012.

The state’s world-class sport fishery provides millions of hours of public recreation annually, in turn energizing the economy. A 2013 American Sportfishing Association Report showed anglers spent nearly 28 million days fishing Michigan waters in 2011. They contributed $4.4 billion to the state’s economy and supported nearly…

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