The survival of many fish species depends on migrations up and down rivers. Among fish such as salmon, shad, and sturgeon, downstream migration is a feature of early life stages, while upstream migration is a feature of adult fish. River obstructions such as dams, culverts, and waterfalls can slow or stop fish migration.
Indeed, these impediments to fish migration are often implicated in the decline of certain fish stocks. Fish ladders are a logical tool to use when rivers cut through urban areas.
What Exactly is a Fish Ladder?
A fish ladder, also known as a fishway, provides a detour route for migrating fish past a particular obstruction on the river. Designs vary depending on the obstruction, river flow, and species of fish affected, but the general principle is the same for all fish ladders. The ladder contains a series of ascending pools. Fish leap through the cascade of rushing water, rest in a pool, and repeat the process until they are out of the ladder.
Lansing’s Fish Ladder on the Grand River
The Brenke Fish Ladder was built in 1981. Its to help fish swimming up the Grand River pass the dam without injury. The fish ladder is a peaceful place to visit along the river. Most days, you can see fishermen along the riverside of the ladder. They try to catch catfish, sunfish, and other smaller fish species that inhabit the Grand River. Finally, the ladder is located within Lansing’s eclectic Old Town district and offers impressive views of the city and Grand River.
The best time to see salmon migrating and using the ladder is in the early fall. It’s a short walk from Lansing’s historic Old Town shopping district.
Aerial View of The Fish Ladder in Lansing
Fish Ladder Park in Grand Rapids
Built-in 1974, the Fish Ladder Park in Grand Rapids is the other fish ladder in Michigan. Located near the Sixth Street Dam so that the migration of salmon and steelhead can make the yearly journey upstream to spawn. The concrete fish ladder provides visitors with a great opportunity to see the migrating fish leap up the steps.
The ladder is also a popular spot for fishermen to angle for steelhead during their spawning run.
Related Links to Environment News
- Invasive Species Threaten Fishing in the Great Lakes – Asian carp are literally at the doorstep of the waters of the Great Lakes. Some of the species’ DNA evidence has already been found in Lakes Michigan and Erie.
- Burchard Park and Lansing River Trail – The Brenke Fish Ladder was built in 1981 to help fish swimming up the Grand River pass the dam without injury. The fish ladder is a peaceful place to visit along the river and you can always find fishermen nearby catching catfish, carp, sunfish, and other smaller species of fish that inhabit the Grand River.
- The History of Charity Island – Big Charity Island is one of the larger islands on the US side of Lake Huron. At over 250 acres it imposes a dominating outline at the mouth of Saginaw Bay.
- Tundra Swans Migration Through Michigan’s Thumb – Over the years, we have received several reports from our readers noting the annual migration of Tundra swans across the Thumb.
- 9 Marvelous Great Lakes Beaches You Should Visit In 2021 – Here is a small set of some obscure and best beaches in the Great Lakes region that you won’t want to miss on your travels.
- The Fish Market at Bay Port – If you’re lucky, you can see the staff in action preparing the catch for sale in the store or for the farmer’s markets in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Port Austin.
- Early History of WKAR – AM 1917-1939 – This is the early history of WKAR in the mid-Michigan area, and the advancement of the station we enjoy today.