Sunday, October 05, 2008

Altmar And Salmon

New York State has awful taxes but awesome fishing. We went with our church group up to Pulaski today for lunch and then took a short ride to Altmar where we saw salmon fishermen and the Salmon River fish hatchery.

During September and October, ocean salmon return up the St. Lawrence River, down Lake Ontario and up the Salmon River to spawn at the Hatchery where they were born. NYS has instituted a series of controls to make sure that thousands and thousands of salmon survive to reach the hatchery where the females' eggs are harvested along with male sperm, or milt as it is called. The following photo is the room in the hatchery where the eggs are harvested.

This is an enlargement of the green chalkboard in the above photo. It reads Goals - Chinook 3.2 million, Coho - 1.8 million. That's five million eggs that will be taken from female salmon in this single room.

And that does not include the trout...

NY has a thriving salmon sport fishing industry that draws enthusiasts from all over the country to fish in Upstate NY. And they are not disappointed.

Built in 1980, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery specializes in raising steelhead, chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout and landlocked salmon. Originally constructed to revive and enhance the fishery of the Great Lakes, this facility provides most of the fish for the now multi-million dollar Lake Ontario salmonid fishery. Each year this hatchery produces more than 2,000,000 fingerlings (young fish 3-5 inches long) and close to 1,000,000 yearlings (fish one year old or over).

Located in Altmar, NY, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery supplies fish for more than 100 public waters including Lake Ontario. Each year, the hatchery stocks 3.5 million trout and salmon, and nine million walleye fry. Serving an eleven-county area, hatchery personnel travel many miles delivering fish to their designated stocking sites. The fish are transported on trucks that are specially equipped with tanks of oxygenated water. Small fish are loaded onto the stocking trucks by hand via the use of scap nets, while larger fish are usually loaded by means of a device called a fish pump.

The returning salmon are directed into the hatchery through a series of gates and blocked streams. The salmon line up and pack themselves so thick that you can almost walk across the stream on their backs. This short video clip is of salmon trying to get past a barrier to go upstream. This barrier is right next to the salmon entry stream to the hatchery.

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