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SUBMITTED by Mary E. Mastracy, Wayne County Tourism (19-Apr-2010)

When hatchery trucks drive into town, the news is always good; not just for anglers, but for everyone else that is part of the economic significance created by a viable sportfishery.

50,000 King Salmon delivered to Arney's Marina in Sodus Point, NY for pen rearing

Tanker trucks did arrive 16 April 2010, and they brought 50,000 Chinook salmon (kings) and 17,000 steelhead. The salmon were transferred to pens located at Arney’s Marina, and the steelhead were stocked directly in Maxwell Creek.

Pen rearing Chinook salmon for the Lake Ontario fishery started 12 years ago in Orleans County, when local stakeholders believed an imprinted fish would help the stocking program. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) carefully monitored the program, and after considering it a success, allowed other counties to pen raise the fingerlings.

The Lake Ontario Charter Boat Association (LOCBA) approached DEC with a proposal and fishery biologists conducted some tests and approved a project for Sodus Bay.

LOCBA initially raised funds for the nets, and started the program with 50,000 fish in 1999. The pens were originally located at Krenzer Marina, and then moved to Arney’s Marina where the water flow from First Creek provided a better habitat for raising the kings.

The sport fish are fed in the pens for approximately four weeks, or until the fingerlings smolt; a process where the fish imprint. An imprinted fish will usually return to the same location in 3 or 4 years, the normal pattern for a spawning salmon. Biology aside, a returning salmon population benefits the local sportfishery by keeping the catches close to home.

The kings will be monitored for growth by a weighing process, in which the fingerlings are counted in a pound of water. This calculation is used to determine when they are large enough to be released. They arrive close to 120 / pound and are released at 85/pound. When the fish reach the optimum weight or water temperatures spike to critical levels, the kings are towed to Lake Ontario and released

The 2010 pen rearing salmon project is organized by Wayne County residents Ethan and Alice Irwin, with assistance from LOBCA and many individual volunteers.


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