Florence Lion's Club
Nicole Watson is a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Her current research focuses on the successful reintroduction of Arctic Grayling in Michigan streams and she has studied 46 tributaries of Lake Michigan.
Research for her masters degree focused on steelhead at Central Michigan University. Her research took her to 46 tributaries surrounding Lake Michigan, twice per year. Her sampling sites include tributaries of the St. Joe, Kalamazoo, Manistee, Pere Marquette, and many others in both peninsulas of Michigan and in Wisconsin. She focused 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.
The overarching goal of her current research is to clarify uncertainties to successful Grayling reintroduction to Michigan streams. It is a multifaceted study including the following: predation of Grayling fry by resident, age-1 Brook and Brown trout; competition between age-0 Grayling, Brook, and Brown trout; Grayling imprinting to home waters at early life stages; alarm cues; aspects of physiological development; predator avoidance and predator cue recognition by juvenile Grayling. Her research takes her to Alaska each spring to transport Grayling eggs back to her lab at Michigan State University. She spends each summer and fall running trials back in the lab (and finding time to fly fish in Northern Michigan).
Nicole was first introduced to fly fishing at age-9 on the banks of the Au Sable at Wyandotte Lodge (now Riverside). Nicole is on the Board of Directors of Anglers of the Au Sable, a member of Trout Unlimited and the American Fisheries Society. She lives with her husband, Tom, in Dundee, MI. They love to fish, hunt, hike and relax in the great outdoors. Like to fish for steelhead? You don’t want to miss this program.
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