How to Make a Difference When Fighting for Something You Love
Denny Grinold and Marissa Hammond
As a child, I (D. Grinold) spent hours fishing with my father, and as I grew up, I developed a passion for understanding motors, fish, and interactions among people. By the time I was 27 years old, I had a family and was running my own business. Regardless of how busy I became working at my auto repair shops, I always made time for fishing with my wife and children. In the late 1960s, Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch and Chinook Salmon O. tshawytscha were successfully stocked into Lake Michigan, and I fell more in love with fishing. When my children grew up, they began to lose interest in fishing, but I was not about to let that stop me from enjoying what I had grown to love so much, so I decided to become a charter boat captain. I knew this would allow me to fulfill my passion for fishing while also introducing others to the emerging and exciting Great Lakes fishery. When I became a charter boat captain, I never expected it would be something that would land me in the management arena fighting for the fishery I had grown to love. By 1986, the Chinook Salmon population was booming and the charter boat fleet was thriving. The industry became a valuable economic component of Michigan’s tourism industry and served the livelihoods of many people, including me.
The introduction of Pacific salmon into Lake Michigan, and subsequently into the entire Great Lakes, may be one of the greatest fish stories of all time. By the 1940s, the Great Lakes were nearly void of any native commercial or sport fishing species, mainly due to overfishing and the invasion of Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus. In 1988, Chinook Salmon began washing up on beaches, catch rates plummeted, and the fishery collapsed. After developing a strong passion for Chinook Salmon fishing, I knew I could not give it up.