Angler Citizen Science

Huron-Michigan Diet Study: What are fish eating?

As invasive species shift the Great Lakes food web, predators are changing their feeding habits. The Michigan-Huron Diet Study enlists anglers to contribute stomachs from all types of predatory fish caught in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

If you fish early or late in the year, late at night, or in places away from crowds, your contribution may be especially useful. To avoid bias, it is important that you collect stomachs in the manner described below. Even empty stomachs are very important because a high percentage of empty stomachs means that fish are having trouble finding food.

If you would like to participate:

  • Decide if you will collect stomachs from this fishing trip.
  • Remove stomachs from ALL fish of each species you are collecting.
  • Place stomach and ALL contents into plastic bag with data tag.
  • Freeze or ice stomachs immediately and deposit in freezer at drop site.

Freezers at collection sites are operated in conjunction with Michigan DNR. Other partner groups include Michigan State University and U.S. Geological Survey. This project is being funded by Great Lakes anglers and conservationists. Donors include the Grand Rapids Steelheaders Foundation and Grand Haven Steelheaders Foundation in addition to many generous individuals.

Materials for stomach collection include:

Great Lakes Angler Diary

Curious to know how stocked and wild steelhead contribute to your favorite fishing hole?

Great Lakes Angler Diary

Due to measures enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by novel coronavirus, Michigan State University researchers and other collaborating agencies are unable to collect stomachs from anglers at this time.

This means that we will be relying on anglers to collect their own stomachs until further notice. Most freezer drop sites will be unavailable for the immediate future, so we are asking anglers to keep their stomachs frozen in personal freezers until social distancing guidelines are relaxed and public freezer drop sites are reopened.

– Diet study project team, April 9, 2020