Coaster brook trout numbers continue to rise near Lake Superior’s North Shore
The coaster brook trout is native to the coastlines and tributaries of Lake Superior. Following decades of heavy fishing pressure and habitat destruction resulting from logging practices near the North Shore, the coaster brook trout population was all but decimated in Lake Superior.
Since the late 1990s, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has been trying to establish a self-sustaining population in several Lake Superior tributaries. In 2007, the band took their effort a step further and built the Grand Portage Native Fish Hatchery.
Fisheries biologists from the Grand Portage Band and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources continue to monitor the coaster brook trout population along the North Shore. Fisheries surveys took place recently near Grand Marais, as WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs learns in this interview with Dr. Seth Moore, the director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, as well as EJ Issac, a fish and wildlife biologist for the Grand Portage Band.
“From Grand Marais to Grand Portage, you can catch coaster brook trout north of 22 inches in size,” Issac said. “A lot of these fish are either stocked fish that we’ve put in the lake, or some fish that have come down from Ontario, where there’s better source populations up there.”
Issac said the restoration of brook trout has been a lengthy and sometimes challenging process, but wildlife officials, from the Grand Portage Band to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, are optimistic about the effort.
“It’s not an easy task when you’re dealing with a fish species on something like Lake Superior, where it’s a very vast and large area where we need a lot of support and collaboration by our partners,” Issac said. “So we still have work to do, but it’s been it’s been positive in that we’ve seen numbers expand in areas where we find coaster brook trout, as well as numbers as we’re finding more of them as well.”
Learn more in the audio below.