Coho Salmon Set to Return to Muskegon River

The DNR is bringing the Coho salmon back to part of the Muskegon River for the first time in decades.

The DNR plans to stock the fish in the river below the Croton Dam in Newaygo County this spring.

The Muskegon River hasn’t been home to the Coho salmon since the late 1970’s, but that’s set to chance this spring when they’ll make their return.

“We just want to diversify the fishery in the Muskegon River a little bit and provide those Muskegon River anglers another species to pursue. We know how important the Muskegon River is economically to Newaygo County and the Newaygo area,” said Mark Tonello, a Fisheries Biologist with the DNR.

The DNR has successfully stocked Coho salmon in other Michigan rivers in the past and the news they’ll be coming to the Muskegon is already creating a buzz at local fly fishing shops including the Muskegon River Fly Shop in Newaygo.

“The Muskegon river is kind of a neat place, it’s one of the places you can catch small mouths, muskeys, pike, Coho, browns, rainbows and Chinooks, now we’re adding Coho’s so it’s just one of those fisheries that at any time of the year there’s a good quality fishery to be had and this is just going to add to that,” said shop owner Charlie Atkinson.

The DNR says they plan to stock about 35,000 Coho in the river in April and fishermen should be able to start catching them by the fall of 2020.

“We’ve been quietly asking them to put some Coho in the river for years. Not only to the add some variety to the fishery, but they also respond in a different way to baits, and they tend to be more aggressive so it makes them a really interesting fish to have the Coho in the river,” said Kevin Feenstra of Feenstra Guide Service.