Salmon Ambassadors

The purpose of the Salmon Ambassadors volunteer program is to engage anglers in learning about their fishery and providing useful information on stocked and wild Chinook salmon. Stocked Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are easy to identify thanks to a fin clip.

Volunteers check each and every Chinook salmon caught over the course of the fishing season for a fin clip. They also carefully measure each fish and record the date and location of each catch. At the end of September, volunteers receive a short survey and request to return their completed data sheets.

Results from previous years

Prior to the 2015 fishing season, 166 anglers had volunteered to participate in the Salmon Ambassadors program. All told, 58 anglers returned surveys at the end of the year and 34 provided usable data on 1,696 Chinook salmon caught during the 2015 season.

Wild Chinook salmon were the majority of the catch in most ports. Detailed results from years past can be round in these annual reports:

How to sign up

Do you fish Lake Michigan, northern Lake Huron, or tributary streams for Chinook salmon? Do you regularly fish one port or river throughout the season? Do you take at least 10-15 trips per year? If so, please consider signing up to be a Salmon Ambassador. The video below provides more details on the program. Contact Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator for Southwest Michigan, at or Provide your name, mailing address, email address, home port (or river), and number of fishing trips per year to register, and you’ll receive a unique volunteer number.

As of 2017, anglers are encouraged to use the Great Lakes Angler Diary web app to enter all of the Chinook salmon data required for the Salmon Ambassadors program. If you need paper data sheets, you can print your own using the template below.

Project partners

The Salmon Ambassadors program is a Michigan Sea Grant initiative developed in coordination with Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana Departments of Natural Resources, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This program would not be possible without the effort of dedicated volunteers from organizations including Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association and Michigan Charter Boat Association. Special thanks go out to Detroit Area Steelheaders, who provided a generous donation to support this program.