SJRVFF Welcomes Nicole Watson

I grew up near the shores of Lake Erie and vacationing on the Au Sable River. The first time I fly fished was on the Au Sable River when I was about 9 or 10 years old. It was a bamboo rod with line tied to it. It was nothing fancy. I did not even have a reel.  It was a start.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI began studying fisheries biology at Eastern Michigan University during my undergraduate work, then went on to work for USGS at the Great Lakes Science Center. There I was part of the deep water ecosystems team working on Lake Huron.

Currently, I am studying steelhead at Central Michigan University as a graduate student. My research takes me to 46 tributaries surrounding Lake Michigan, twice per year. My sampling sites include tributaries of the St. Joe, Kalamazoo, Manistee, Pere Marquette, and many others in both peninsulas of Michigan and in Wisconsin. I focus on juvenile steelhead and use the unique chemical signature of their ear bone (otolith) to determine their nursery habitat. This signature is influenced by the water in which the fish lives. Streams with a unique water chemistry will result in a unique chemical signature of the fish’s otolith. Analysis of the otolith signature can give insight to the life history of the fish.

NicoleWatson2I am a member of Trout Unlimited, American Fisheries Society, and Anglers of the Au Sable.

I will share my fly fishing experiences, “non-traditional” fishing experiences through my research, and discuss my current steelhead research.

Summary of Steelhead Research

We need a good head count for dinner planning for our group. They charge us if we tell them too few so get your name in or you might go hungry! RSVP by emailing Terry at or call and leave a message at 269-424-5138. Please respond by 9:00 pm on Friday.

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