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Game fish habitat preferences in Northern Michigan lakes and streams
Due to the presence of productive fishing lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the state of Michigan, fishing is a multi-million-dollar industry. In 2011 alone, 1.2 million dollars was spent on fishing licenses in the state of Michigan (Michigan.gov). Unfortunately, this resource is impacted by human activity such as overfishing (Allan et al., 2005), global climate change (Ficke, Myrick & Hansen, 2007), and pollution (Fuller and Taricska, 2012). In order to maintain viable fish populations to sustain this vital industry, information on habitat and prey availability, as well as water quality, is needed for Michigan waters. This study will provide an understanding on what game fish currently use as a habitat this is important for reasons of seeing how humans are impacting these resources and it will show what needs to be done to preserve these habitats.The purpose of this project is to determine what habitats game fish prefer in the wild. This is important for reasons of seeing how humans are impacting these resources and it will show what needs to be done to preserve these habitats and have a sustainable fisheries. In order to asses these issue I have to look at different factors to determine why game fish prefer certain habitats to others. First, I will be conducting water analysis to determine the water quality of Burt Lake and its tributaries. The water quality factors that will be analyzed will be nitrogen, phosphorus, and heavy metal levels. In addition, different habitat characterizations play a factor that should be assessed. This can be done by spot sample sediment analysis because different species prefer different sediments when laying eggs or raising fry. This will also include characterization of substrate types. The second step will be a fish survey of these different habitat types. This will be done by means of electroshocking or traps that can be placed in the water to estimate population densities of various game fish species. I plan to compare fish densities to see if I certain species occur in a certain habitat. The purpose of this survey is to help develop a fisheries management plan for the lake so that future generations maybe able to enjoy it.All animals captured will be measured weighed and released back to the habitat from which they were collected. By developing techniques of fish sampling I hope to keep fish loss as minimum as possible.
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