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Fisheries   2004 DNR Fish Study | 2007 Fish Report | 2008 Fish Report | 2012 Fish Report

Aquatic Plant Control

Houghton Lake has one of the most diverse and abundant fish populations of any lake in Michigan. Since the 1930's, the Department of Natural Resources has identified 39 different species of fish in Houghton Lake including sunfish, perch, northern pike, walleye, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. However, the lake is too warm during the summer months to sustain coldwater fish species such as trout. Since 1994, Houghton Lake has had over 330 entries in the Department of Natural Resources Master Anglers Program including a 21-pound northern pike caught in 2003, a 30-inch walleye caught in 2004, and a 14-inch black crappie caught in 2004. Since 1979, the Department of Natural Resources has stocked over 1.9 million walleye in Houghton Lake ranging in size from fingerlings to 6-inches.

The fishery in Houghton Lake has been studied extensively. A study completed by the Department of Natural Resources in 2004 found that the fishery in Houghton Lake in 2001- 2002 was very similar to the fishery in 1957-1961. In particular, the report noted that the walleye fishery in Houghton Lake is healthy and that the northern pike population was also fairly healthy.

In April and June of 2007, the DNR surveyed Houghton Lake to evaluate the fish community.

A report of results stated:
Bluegill sizes and growth rates ranged from Satisfactory to Superior in all years between 1972
and 2007. Catch rates in trap nets have increased steadily since 1983. This is inconsistent with
angler reports of poor bluegill catches during recent years. Other panfish also appear to have
good size structure and large mean sizes. The panfish populations appear in good condition with
no substantial changes since 1972.

Overall, the fisheries of Houghton Lake are dominated by panfish, walleye, and northern pike. The
2007 survey indicates stable or increasing abundance of these species. Substantial changes in
growth rates and sizes were not evident.