Spawning Feral Salmon Protections Could Enhance Hatchery Stock Rearing
GRAND ISLE, Vt -- The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is hosting a public discussion on landlocked salmon runs and possible fishing regulations at Hatchery Cove on Tuesday, July 24, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lake Champlain Basin Program conference room, 54 West Shore Road in Grand Isle, next to the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station.
Brian Chipman, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife, will present information on Lake Champlain salmon management and fishing at Hatchery Cove. The cove is located off the outlet of Hatchery Brook, the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station’s discharge stream. Chipman and other department staff will discuss potential future fishing regulations to protect spawning salmon at Hatchery Cove, answer questions and collect public comments on potential regulation options.
By using feral salmon (hatchery stocked fish that that have grown to maturity in Lake Champlain) for broodstock, the department has found a much greater return in spawning runs than by using hatchery reared-only adult broodstock.
“We may be able to boost river runs of salmon--and associated fishing opportunities--by maximizing spawning feral salmon as the primary egg source for hatchery production and Lake Champlain stocking,” said Chipman.
The Ed Weed Fish Culture Station rears and stocks all of Vermont’s landlocked Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain, approximately 145,000 yearling smolts each year.
“About 400,000 eggs are needed to reach our stocking goal, which would require collecting 200 to 250 feral spawning pairs annually,” said Kevin Kelsey, the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station supervisor.
While Hatchery Brook has been closed to fishing for many years, heavy fishing pressure and associated salmon take from fall spawning concentrations at adjacent Hatchery Cove may be limiting the abundance of salmon available for egg collection. Game wardens and hatchery staff have also noted illegal activity and conflicts among anglers there. More restrictive regulations will be considered to address these issues. This meeting will allow for public discussion of the those concerns and potential solutions.
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Media Contact: Brian Chipman; 802-879-5697