Grayling Return to Michigan

Grayling caught in late fall on Little Manistee

Grayling caught in late fall on Little Manistee

Lansing, MI – Fisheries biologists have announced today that the once extinct species of grayling have returned to Michigan thanks to a public / private effort conducted in the cold headwaters of the Little Manistee River. The five year project included rearing a small population on several candidate rivers selected based on temperature, habitat, available food and water quality. The DNR determined that in order to consider the project successful one of the planted populations would need to sustain itself for a minimum of five years, a milestone that was reached on the first of March this year.

As most fishermen are aware, Michigan’s grayling population disappeared in the 1930’s due to overharvest, predation by non-native planted species, and impacts to habitat from the logging industry. Until now, the only self-sustaining populations of grayling in the lower 48 are found in Montana’s Big Hole River. Several attempts have been made to re-introduce the species in the AuSable and Big Manistee Rivers without success. One of the key factors in the success of this most recent effort is the strain of grayling selected for re-introduction. The strain chosen is from British Columbia and is believed to be less susceptible to predation, the most significant cause of planting failures to date.

Biologists were fearful that the population would not survive the Spring of 2013 which found many of the state’s rivers flowing out of their banks. Remarkably, the Little Manistee grayling have revealed an extraordinary ability to survive extreme weather. Although it has been considered a success, the mood remains one of cautious optimism among those involved with the project.


6 responses

  1. Heath Sutherland

    April Fool’s Day is not a time to joke about grayling.


    April 1, 2014 at 11:37 am

  2. Dave Smethurst

    Discovered today a remnant population in a trib to the Upper Black. Natives, from BC.


    April 1, 2014 at 8:32 pm

  3. Great story and glad to have found your blog


    April 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm

  4. joe

    Hey this was posted on april 1st, is this real or a joke?
    I think its pretty cool if its real.


    April 2, 2014 at 10:09 am

  5. Very nice~
    and hopeful…
    Tight Lines!


    April 1, 2015 at 8:11 am

  6. Bob Ronnenkamp

    grayling are a consistent resource throughout much of Europe. active surface feeders. gotta love the sail..


    April 1, 2015 at 11:12 am

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