I could be wrong but I think that the Great Lakes were planted with Salmon and Stealhead in order to combat the huge alwife and herring problem that came about due to the eirie canal. The herring and alwife were so thick that the shores would be covered in their stinking dead bodies come spawning time. The government planted a fish that would mitigate this explosion in the late 1890's. I think that the sport fishing was just added beni. Please someone feel free to correct me on this. From what I have heard the steelhead and salmon populations exploded and peaked in the early 1980's. Some rivers getting returns in the 100k mark. Then the herring and alwife populations dropped and since the salmon and steelhead populations have suffered. A good friend of mine owned Whitaker's fly shop on the Salmon river in New York. He said that in the 80's he could have 20-30 fish days during the boom. Now people are lucky to have 3 or 4 fish days on that river.