By James Lawatsch
About 50,000 brown trout fingerlings have a new home in Lake Michigan thanks to assistance from Waupaca Foundry Plant 4 in Marinette, Wis. As part of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fish restocking program, the research vessel used Plant 4’s dock at the mouth of the Menominee River and the waters of Green Bay to unload five truckloads of fish.
Over a two day period in mid April and again in early May, workers from the DNR released brown trout averaging 7-8 inches in size. The fish are the Wild Rose domestic strain, a strain that has been planted in the lake for decades. In past years, biologists had stocked trout further upstream in the tributaries to Green Bay, but the spring walleye run has grown so successful the trout fingerlings are potential prey for the walleye. Lake Michigan’s growing population of brown trout has fueled a resurgence in sport fishing and anglers have regularly landed trophy browns of 30 pounds or more.
According to DNR Fisheries Biologist Tammie Paoli, the foundry’s dock provides protection from lake swells and is a shorter distance for trucking the fish. “The crew at Waupaca installed tires along the wall to protect the wall and our vessel, and we really appreciate their assistance in the past several years,” she said.
Helping the DNR is just another element of Waupaca Foundry’s commitment to sustainability. “We all depend on Wisconsin’s natural resources for recreation and managing a healthy natural environment makes sense for our employees and our business. We’re happy to help the DNR restock the lake,” said Dan Korpi, plant manager of Waupaca Foundry in Marinette, Wis.
There’s a history of helping the DNR. In 2012, Waupaca Foundry donated about 150 yards of fieldstone to the Wild Rose Fisheries for a trout stream rehabilitation project on the Waupaca River. The stone was used to construct a mid-channel island, create large boulder habitat, and overhead bank covers that provide refuge cover for trout. The stone was excavated from the foundry’s landfill and provided enough material to cover approximately 1,000 feet of stream.