Fisheries Data

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant works with state fisheries agencies to collate fisheries data for Lake Michigan. This work has resulted in more than 30 years of fisheries data published in two interactive websites: Angler Archive and Fish Atlas. For questions about either website, contact the project leader, Mitchell Zischke.


Angler Archive

Angler Archive provides easy access to long-term recreational fishing data collected in southern Lake Michigan. These data have been provided by the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) and Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The INHS and IDNR collect data by conducting creel surveys to interview anglers while they are fishing or just after. By conducting surveys on many days and at many locations throughout the region, scientists can extrapolate these data to the entire southern Lake Michigan fishery.

Angler Archive allows you to explore many different types of fisheries such as fishing effort, harvest rates and expenditure. In particular, you can:

  • Explore trends in three recreational fisheries from the mid 1980s.
  • Filter and compare data by factors such as month, site, and target species.
  • Visualize the data in a number of different ways.
  • Export charts and data table.
A screenshot of Angler Archive

A screenshot showing the drop-down menus for Angler Archive, and an example graph displaying recreational fishing effort in Illinois waters of Lake Michigan.


Fish Atlas

Fish Atlas provides an interactive map to view charter boat fishing data throughout Lake Michigan. These data are collected through charter captain logbooks and have been provided by the Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources. In those three states, charter operators are required to record their fishing effort and catch in 10×10 km grid cells across Lake Michigan.

Charter boat fishing data have been collated and presented for five species of salmon and trout: Chinook salmon, coho salmon, lake trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. Fish Atlas allows you to explore how catch rates of these species change spatially across Lake Michigan during the fishing season (May-September). You can also compare data between past and current time periods.

Catch rate of coho salmon

A screenshot of Fish Atlas showing how the catch rate of coho salmon changes spatially throughout the fishing season.


Additional Resources

Angler Archive video
Newsroom article about Angler Archive
Newsroom article about scientific research using charter fishing data
Newsroom article about economic research on recreational fishing in southern Lake Michigan

Contact Info

Topic Specialist

Mitch Zischke
Fisheries Scientist
765-494-9717
Jay Beugly
Aquatic Ecology Specialist
765-494-2930

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator
765-494-3601

Publications

Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant
765-496-6009

Education & Training

Terri Hallesy
Education Coordinator
217-244-8809