1967 : Alewives Wash Up on Michigan’s Lake Michigan Shoreline

June 23, 2024 all-day


June 23, 1967, billions of alewives, a small “trash” fish, began washing up and rotting on four hundred miles of Lake Michigan shoreline from Benton Harbor to Petoskey, causing tremendous damage to the tourist industry, and leading to the importation of coho and chinook salmon to feed on and control the alewives.

Note : Other articles indicate the alewives were washing up all over Lake Michigan during the summer of 1967, and to a lesser degree in other years.

What if Asian carp make it to lake Michigan and kill of the coho salmon and other fish which have been keeping them under control since?   Will there be another summer of alewives covering our beaches?

Source :

Linda Stephan, “Alewives washing up on Lake Michigan beaches“, Michigan Radio, July 18, 2013.

Amy Hubbell, “The time stinky dead alewives dotted Lake Michigan shores“, Leelenau Enterprise, March 6, 2014.

“What causes alewives to die off in great numbers at certain times of the year?”, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant News Release.

The Alewives are Coming!  The Alewives are Coming!“, Chicago History Today,  July 7, 1967.  From the Chicago waterfront to the Mackinaw Bridge, the shores of Lake Michigan were taken over last month by dead alewives. The fish,*members of the herring family, washed ashore on every incoming wave, piling up on the beaches faster than bulldozers and tractors could clear them away. They filled the air with the odor of decay and drew swarms of mosquitoes and flies.

Alewive Exposion.   Time. 

The Alewife Explosion The 1967 Die-off In Lake Michigan

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