The changes in temperature mean changes for us here at Lakeshore State Park. The seeds on our prairie plants have started to drop, and will be ready to undergo cold-stratification. Cold stratification is an important step for nearly all of our native plants in Wisconsin, as it allows the plants to survive through our cold winters. We won’t see any flowering for a while, but the dew, frost, and snow can make for some beautiful views on the dried flowers!
You have probably noticed some extra splashing going on in the water basin in the last month. The colder temperatures are also an indicator to Lake, Rainbow, Brown and BrookTrout, Coho and Chinook (King)Salmon that they need to begin spawning. They frequently can be seen leaping out of the water as they move toward shallower areas of the basin and search for gravel beds to lay eggs/sperm on. After spawning, the majority of the adults die and may be seen on our pebble beach area where the gulls will feed upon them.
Lake Trout were one of the original inhabitants of the Laurentian Great Lakes and have had enormous population declines in the last century. Historically, they were the top predator in Lake Michigan prior to the introduction of Salmon. In the mid-1990s, their population levels dropped dramatically due to overfishing. From the 1950s to the 1960s, they were the prime target for Sea Lamprey, an invasive, eel-like fish that parasitically bores into the sides of its prey. Since 1960, Sea Lamprey has been managed by the WDNR using lampricides in their spawning streams. This measure has been largely successful, and with the addition of Lake Trout breeding and spawning programs, the Lake Trout species are starting to rebound, with many new wild-breeding populations found since 2013.
Lakeshore State Park
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources