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NFC: Fw: blue pike and native michigan saugers

Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 04:08:19 -0400
Subject: blue pike and native michigan saugers
Hello Mr. Rice!
My name is John Vande Berg and I was told to get ahold of you for my concerns over the native michigan fish
the blue pike and the sauger, both of which are said to be non-existant in Michigan waters.
I started out trying to find saugers which are on the Michigan year 2000 fishing regulations. I was unable to find an area where the DNR said I could catch saugers. This has started me on a quest to find any Michigan strain saugers and to put a bug in the DNRs ear as to why they knew the saugers were disappearing and nothing was done about it.
I am a member of the Holland Fish and Game Club and also of the West Michigan Walleye CLUB and am generating interest among concerned club members.
I was disturbed that the DNR didnt feel saving the sauger was worth the effort. The local fisheries person was not real happy that I suggested she give me suggestions where to look for saugers and thought I was crazy for remembering saugers being caught in west michigan 30 years ago.
Professional Walleye fisherman Mark Martin has also been on a quest to see if any native saugers exist in Michigan and has fished extensively in former sauger waters with no success.
I did make a proposal to the DNR to purchase sauger fry from the federal fish hatchery in Wisconsin
and raise them in our club ponds as we did the walleye fry 25 years ago with great success. but my proposal was unanimously rejected by the Great Lakes Basin Counsel.
I understand that we would want the right strain of saugers, which would not cross with the few if any remaining native saugers. Or which might cross breed with the walleyes.
Saugers were found in west michigan which matchedthe DNA of the Winnebago/ greenbay sauger(which is the same water as bay de noc michigan and even closer to grand traverse bay michigan
but the biologist said they were just visiting and not from here( in my opinion they are the same since connected by less than 60 miles of Lake Michigan water) if they werew the same fish the genetics would start to drift among "groups" of isolated saugers that move up and down the coast.
We have caught northern pike in Grand Haven Mich. that have St Joe River Indiana tags/darts in them.
In looking for saugers I found out that their had been a blue pike that had supposedly gone extinct.
I also noticed that you have a reward for the "authentic" blue pike.
I have a friend that I hunt and fish with in Canada that I asked if he heard of such a fish and he said that he caught quite a few of the 12 years ago, "they were bright blue, a brilliant blue with a white belly" He also noted that when they caught them ice fishing in the bright snow they left a blue cast to the snow they were laying on. And also that they were very tastey, almost sweet taste, very light flesh. the best fish he has ever eaten.
Im trying to get more info from his father in law who still lives up there, I think he speaks some english, althoughI may have to get someone who knows french. Maybe I can talk him into finding the lake and catching a few for me.
I almost went up there for myself but wanted to make sure it wasnt a wild goose chase and get more details so my fishing gets results. I doubt if the canadian govt would allow me to use trap nets they seem tough to work with although a friend of mine in the animal capture business has done free black bear tagging for them for thier studies in Oba.
I would like suggestions on how to get the Michigan DNR to realize that we have a responsibility to our native fish first before we  plant any more salmon/steelhead/brown trout but they dont see saugers as a very big bang for the buck. Im not pushing for saugers to be planted everywhere but at least a remnant to exist in thier former waters or in waters in michigan that are now suited for saugers.
I asked them if I got the blue pike from Canada and the DNA was pure blue pike, if they would try to get a population going and they said most likely no!
I guess if they dont really want the sauger then they dont want the hassle of the blue pike.
Im not a green peacer but feel obligated to at least prevent native species from going extinct. If Im ever blessed to be a grandparent some day I wouldnt want them to be paging through an old fishing book and ask me where the saugers and blue pike are and my only answer is that I had a chance to possibly bring them back but didnt put enough effort into it to see it through.
If you have any suggestions please let me know, I am calling to see if I can hire the native americans to catch one for me, although in the back of my mind I want it alive so the colder the weather the better,
They couldnt have died out every where, maybe if the blue pike are mixed breeds , they could be kept separate so  the blue pike genes could be maintained as pure as possible and when the technology developes it could be refined to the original blue pike.
John Vande Berg