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The DEC has announced that an Atlantic salmon pen rearing project for the Salmon River will start this year

 

 

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DEC Delivers Press Release - Information to keep you connected and informed from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

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DEC Announces Net Pen-Rearing Projects for Atlantic Salmon in Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario

Following Success of Net Pen Programs for Other Species, DEC Anticipates Increased Survival of Stocked Smolts

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the deployment of two new pen-rearing projects for Atlantic salmon to begin this spring. To improve post-stocking survival and imprinting to the stocked water, experimental Atlantic salmon pen-rearing projects will be conducted in the Saranac River estuary in Lake Champlain and in the Salmon River in Lake Ontario. DEC is partnering with the Lake Champlain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Plattsburgh Boat Basin on the Saranac River project and partnering with the Tug Hill/Black River Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Salmon River Lighthouse and Marina on the Salmon River project.

"Atlantic salmon are a highly prized sport fish," said Commissioner Seggos. "Working with our partners from Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DEC hopes to increase the survival of stocked salmon smolts for greater returns of adults to tributaries for improved angling opportunities and spawning in these two major fisheries I want to personally thank Trout Unlimited for helping make this possible as TU will be doing the day-to-day work to feed and care for these fish while they are in the pens."

Pen-rearing is a process in which young salmon (smolts) are stocked into net pens and held at the stocking site. At this life stage, the salmon will imprint on the river water and prepare to out-migrate to the lake system. The Trout Unlimited chapters will feed and care for the fish for approximately three weeks prior to release. DEC has been partnering with volunteer groups to pen-rear Chinook salmon and steelhead in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie for more than 20 years, and this method has improved the survival and imprinting for both species. Today's announcement is the first project to test if pen-rearing can have a similar beneficial impact on stocked Atlantic salmon.

Andrew Milliken, Project Leader and Complex Manager for Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office said, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service looks forward to working with DEC, Trout Unlimited and the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative on this cutting edge project in the Saranac River to learn and improve returns of landlocked salmon to Lake Champlain tributaries, enhance tributary fisheries and increase natural reproduction."

Rich Redman, President of Trout Unlimited Lake Champlain Chapter said, "Landlocked Salmon are our chapters priority. This is one step to restore wild Atlantic salmon to the Saranac River. Now is the time to restore the river habitat itself, to allow the cold water species like salmon to once again thrive."

Wayne Weber, President of Trout Unlimited Tug Hill/Black River Chapter said, "The Salmon River provides one of the most diverse angling opportunities in our region. Currently Atlantic salmon are a small portion of that opportunity. We are hoping the pen rearing project will provide greater returns to Salmon River therefore increasing the angler's chance of success."

Each project will compare two lots of Atlantic salmon smolts to evaluate the effectiveness of pen-rearing as a stocking method. One lot of Atlantic salmon will be stocked into net pens and held for approximately three weeks prior to release. A second lot will be directly stocked into the water at the same site when the smolts are released from the pens. A comparison of returns between the two stocking methods will determine if pen-rearing results in greater survival and homing than conventional, direct stocking.

For more information about salmon in New York State, visit DEC's Salmon and Atlantic salmon websites.

https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/press.html

 


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Basil Seggos, Commissioner


This email was sent to xxxxxxxxxxxxx using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation · 625 Broadway · Albany, NY 12233 · (518) 402-8013

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Word on the street is they are eyeing Sandy Creek in Hamlin as another spot.  If so, I think its a poor choice.  Irondequoit Creek is a trib that holds trout year round.  Why wouldn't you put them into a trib that could possibly support natural reproduction?  Irondequiot Creek is cold enough to support trout year round in the upper stretches.  Sandy is way too warm before June hits.  Most years of the salmon / steelhead pen rearing projects, we couldn't hold fish the entire time due to water temp issues.  

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Word on the street is they are eyeing Sandy Creek in Hamlin as another spot.  If so, I think its a poor choice.  Irondequoit Creek is a trib that holds trout year round.  Why wouldn't you put them into a trib that could possibly support natural reproduction?  Irondequiot Creek is cold enough to support trout year round in the upper stretches.  Sandy is way too warm before June hits.  Most years of the salmon / steelhead pen rearing projects, we couldn't hold fish the entire time due to water temp issues.  

Agreed. They also in the past, performed electro shocking studies in Irondequoit back in the late 80”s with high success rates. I’d be surprised if it’s changed that much where the ecosystem wouldn’t still be favorable location.


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What a waste of time and money to appease the fly whippers. You have to admit they have a "never give up" attitude.

 

On a better note. Whatever experiment they've tried lately with Coho seems to be working this Spring.

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Atlantic Salmon are a true native Lake Ontario species like the Lake Trout. Like sea run German Brown Trout after spawning they return the next year to spawn again. Their aerial jumps are more exciting than the "boot" fight you have from lake trout.

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Agreed. They also in the past, performed electro shocking studies in Irondequoit back in the late 80”s with high success rates. I’d be surprised if it’s changed that much where the ecosystem wouldn’t still be favorable location.

 

 

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The situation in Irondequoit Creek has improved. In some parts, the silt has been removed from the gravel beds making spawning possible again. Also, the small weir dam near the outlet into I-Bay was removed. But I think that the DEC will use fish that is ready to go into the lake as opposed to the smaller fish that needs to stay in the creeks for another year.

 

 

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I vaguely remember there being a big Atlantic program on I-Creek in the 80s or early 90s that was abandoned due to lack of success. If it didn’t work on I-Creek, Sandy doesn’t stand a chance. I do believe there is a fair amount of natural repro for chinooks in I-creek. I was up in Fisher’s last fall after a rain and saw 15 or so kings blow by in the 1/2 hour I was there. Some decent gravel and year round cold water up there.  I’ve caught smolt steelhead up in powder mill in July and August that I believe were natural or maybe stockers that didn’t smolt in time to make it out to the lake and had to spend another year in the stream. The creek can get high and muddy even up high in the system which I’m told can prevent natural repro to an extent. There is more and more development on and near I-creek which will only make that situation worse. 

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The penned fish are only an experiment being done this year at the lighthouse marina on the Salmon river. They are simply taking part of the stocking allotment of the salmon and penning them to see if they get a better return. So just part of original Adirondack stocking.

 

Yes DEC has decided to put LL’s in Sandy. Many of us tried to push for irondequoit for the main reason of better habitat. Yes they did do a stocking in the 80’s and actually it was very successful and not sure why they backed off.

 

The total cost of this experiment is less than 5 k for materials. Cobelskill college welds the pens up.

 

There is a group of volunteers already in place to put the pens together and care for the fish. I simply can’t understand why there is so much negativity every time DEC is diving into more science. This was NOT a program that trib fishers came up with. This strictly is the program of Steve Hurst the bureau chief of fisheries.

 

Some of you guys always run way off track and never truly have the story straight.

 

DEC is working with USF&W to obtain more LL to try to work towards creating an annual sport fishery of this native species.

 

 

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I recall reading something a long time ago (maybe a Saunders Fishing Guide) indicating that the problem with stocking in I creek was that predation in the bay was way too high for the stockings to be sustainable. I Bay was determined to be to big a gauntlet for those fish to run.


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That’s exactly the reason they passed on I Bay. But Tunison at Cornell are raising fish a little longer and bigger before release to where they may be less of a bait target.

 

No matter where the fish are stocked they have to survive predators . 2019 to 2020 trib creel census results of LL caught at Oak Orchard creek from fall to spring was 2700+. They stock the Oak fish in the harbor just several 100 yards from the open lake.

 

Last spring DEC stocked the entire salmon river group at the mouth of the river to see if they get a great return like the oak gets by not having the fish run the river to the lake. They could do the same thing at IBay.

 

We have natural repo of king salmon and steelhead in irondequoit creek. This creek is of the highest quality of any of our local tribs.

 

Lots of access all the way to Fishers NY with much more canopy keep waters cool including many springs that seep into the bed of this Trib.

 

However since no more stocking of Kings or steelhead at Sandy and the ending of stocking domestic rainbows in LO may be their reasoning.

 

 

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That’s exactly the reason they passed on I Bay. But Tunison at Cornell are raising fish a little longer and bigger before release to where they may be less of a bait target.
 
No matter where the fish are stocked they have to survive predators . 2019 to 2020 trib creel census results of LL caught at Oak Orchard creek from fall to spring was 2700+. They stock the Oak fish in the harbor just several 100 yards from the open lake.
 
Last spring DEC stocked the entire salmon river group at the mouth of the river to see if they get a great return like the oak gets by not having the fish run the river to the lake. They could do the same thing at IBay.
 
We have natural repo of king salmon and steelhead in irondequoit creek. This creek is of the highest quality of any of our local tribs.
 
Lots of access all the way to Fishers NY with much more canopy keep waters cool including many springs that seep into the bed of this Trib.
 
However since no more stocking of Kings or steelhead at Sandy and the ending of stocking domestic rainbows in LO may be their reasoning.
 
 
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NY and Vermont have a joint LL program for Lake Champlain and its tributaries. Big money thrives on LL fishing. Especially from the fly fishing guys that worship them. The Lake Ontario guys are sort of happy with their Kings and trout.


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They just loaded the LL on Champlain. The LL are not only for fly fisherman. Many gear and float anglers catch them in the tribs, and many are caught in the lake.

Having fished for them in many different places, LL salmon are truly happy in rivers. They enter as early as right now , I hooked a dime bright salmon in the Oak this past week that likely ran in with the better flush of water . There have been several caught on the Salmon river this month running in from the lake.

They will enter all spring summer and fall when conditions are right. Last summer anglers fishing near the dam at the Oak caught some LL. They can tolerate water temps into the high 70’s.

So this species can fill several nitches for a combination of both lake and river anglers.
I’ve caught them trolling but in my humble opinion and my experience is they are made to be caught on rod and reel in a river where the angler is one on one with the fish without being pulled by the boat as well. Fish that I’ve experienced that have jumped high enough that I’m looking up at them. They are actually faster in the water than king salmon coupled with their acrobatics makes them a very worthy target.

So the state and feds are working together to enhance this species for anglers to enjoy. At the same time they are not limiting any of the other species except for circumstances like bait fish issues the past three years. NYS has only been stocking 20k fish. With some added fish from Tunison who are experimenting with strains and sizes of fish through how long they hold them.

In the end this study takes nothing away from the other species and provided though limited at the moment opportunity to catch another top level game fish.



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A fish stocking program is too strongly influenced by the "Money Fishermen", the Charter and money contest fishing groups that offer easier fishing access to open lake fishing. I suppose if there was a contest for Atlantic Salmon then the DEC would listen to that user group.

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On 4/13/2021 at 10:33 PM, Gill-T said:

I vaguely remember catching Atlantic Salmon 

Yes Gill , it happens to all of us as we get older.

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8 minutes ago, Gill-T said:

I need a blue pill for my brain. 

That's an idea , it might help keeping my head up instead of dozing away.

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