Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, N.Y.
USGS scientists release young Atlantic salmon into Lake Ontario tributaries near the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, N.Y.
Thousands of young Atlantic salmon are being released into Salmon River in an effort to restore this diminished Lake Ontario fish population, extending the sport fishing season by at least two months in Oswego County, N.Y.
During fall 2011 and spring 2012, U.S. Geological Survey scientists will stock Beaverdam, Orwell, and Trout Brooks and the main stem of the Salmon River in Oswego County with approximately 70,000 - 90,000 young Atlantic salmon, a native fish species that has been eliminated in Lake Ontario due to habitat loss and overfishing. The released fish will create a Lake Ontario egg source of salmon at sites where they can be readily captured as adults, spawned, and re-released into Lake Ontario tributaries.
Unlike the more prevalent Pacific salmon that spawn in Lake Ontario during the fall, Atlantic salmon begin returning to streams to spawn in early summer, extending the fishing season into July and August.
"This early return of adult Atlantic salmon should extend the fishing season by at least two months, which may provide economic benefits to Oswego County," said USGS scientist Jim Johnson with the Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science.
The Oswego County salmon release is part of a coordinated effort among the USGS Great Lakes Science Center and state, tribal, and Canadian fishery resource managers to restore Atlantic salmon in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River drainage system.
Funding for the USGS Tunison Laboratory's salmon rearing capabilities comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and from a 2005 Congressional appropriation.