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State releases arctic grayling into Michigan lakes

Three lakes were recently stocked with a fish that went extinct nearly 90 years ago in Michigan.

The arctic grayling is typically 10 to 24 inches, with shimmering silver scales and a distinctly large dorsal fin. It disappeared from Michigan in 1936 due to extensive logging, overfishing and competition with trout.

Now, the state is re-introducing the species in waterbodies in Alger, Houghton and Manistee counties.

Around 1,800 "surplus" fish were released last month, making it the first class to graduate from state hatcheries that are part of a newer re-introduction inititative.

Because the arctic grayling spawn in rivers, they aren’t expected to reproduce in the lakes. The state plans to eventually stock fertilized eggs in rivers to create a self-sustaining population.

The state says anglers are welcome to catch the fish, but harvesting is against the law, and fish must be released.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
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