ALPENA, Mich. — The Michigan Brown Trout Festival continues to ride a steady pace thanks to the anglers, fish population and volunteers. One position that stands out is the Fish Doctor. For 18-years Roger Barc has weighed in fish at the nine-day tournament and Ernie Butterfield has been there to assist, but now they’ve got some help.
“When you have big fish you hold them by the gills,” said young Maxumilian Hann who wore a Fish Doctor II hat.
The knowledge share by Barc has left a lasting impression for those that seek interest in learning more of what goes on at the weight scales.
“Learning where their clips are and just learning what’s natural, what’s not natural,” said angler Kristine Bartz. “Seeing all of the different species it’s just wonderful.”
Barc knows many species of fish, but his favorite is the steelhead.
“When you open up that cooler and see that big bright silver,” said Barc. “A nice huge steelhead with the spots, and the pink line. Just gorgeous.”
The Fish Doctor was happy to share his knowledge with others like Hann and Bartz.
“Watching them (Hann) struggle and get that fish up. Putting it on the scale or a kid that doesn’t like to touch fish and see them touch a fish that’s great. That’s what it’s about. That’s your future fisherman or fish doctor.”
Being the Fish Doctor is not all fun and games. Looking for certain marks and clips helps the DNR track down planted fish.
“The fin clips with the lake trout is important information that the DNR gather, so they know what kind of trout base and what size, ages of trout are being caught.”
The Brown Trout Tournament means a lot to Alpena for it’s fisheries and more, but it needs volunteers to keep it running.
“I like to see all of the community come down here and be part of this because it’s wonderful. I want to see it get bigger.”
Here’s how to contact the Michigan Brown Trout Committee to learn more about volunteering: https://www.browntroutfestival.com/contact.