Annual trout stock up in Kearsley

By David Fleet
Ortonville — On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources continued the annual stocking of Kearsley Creek at Oakwood Road with 4,150 of Sturgeon River brown trout. The number of yearlings is up from about 1,500 released in 2023. The Oakwood bridge is the only location on the Kearsley Creek that’s stocked.
Jared Thompson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources fishery technician made the delivery of the fingerlings raised at the Harrietta State Fish Hatchery, located northeast of Cadillac.
“We give the fish a condition score going into the river,” said Thompson. “They fish are about a year and a half old, Browns (trout) in general can handle a little warmer water than rainbow (trout). Any body of water that hits 68 or 70 degrees and the fish cannot get out limits where they can live.”
By the end of the summer the trout will be eight to 10 inches, he said.
The Kearsley Creek was 59 degrees on Tuesday about noon.
The brown trout, native to Europe and Western Asia, arrived in Michigan from Germany in 1883. Then in the spring of 1884 about 5,000 brown trout were released in the Baldwin River in north central Michigan.
Since that time millions of brown trout have found new homes in Michigan rivers and streams including the Kearsley Creek in Ortonville.
Jason Gostiaux, MDNR fisheries biologist for the Southern Lake Huron Management Unit said residents along Kearsley Creek and other bodies of water should focus on keeping the shoreline natural for the health of the body of water. Creating buffer strips with natural vegetation helps prevent sediment from moving toward the water and mitigate the erosion.
Other factors include a lack of groundwater feeding the creek impacting the temperature.
Trout have been stocked in Kearsley Creek since the 1980s.
By June or July the fish will be legal size to be kept.

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