It has indeed been my pleasure to serve the Atlantic Salmon Fish Creek Club as President for the past year. This has been a year of great accomplishments and activity for the Club that bodes well for the future of our Atlantic Salmon restoration work.

Several accomplishments stand out and are worthy of highlighting:

Despite these and other successes, the Club did experience a few set-backs that we also need to report:

  1. The Club’s greatest set-back was the extreme mortality of the fish we attempted to raise at the Carpenters Brook Hatchery. Walt Ziele, hatchery manager, has been kind enough for the past two year to provide the Club with space to raise fry in addition to those we raise at the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery. Two years of effort have been expended in an attempt to make Carpenters Brook a means of increasing our output of fry. Unfortunately, for reasons we still cannot determine, the losses in eggs and fry at CBH are unacceptable to the Club and an unfortunate decision was made to cease our efforts at that facility. Barring the discovery and development of another hatchery facility, we are left with no option other than maximizing our capacity at the Beaverkill Hatchery. This would top out at approximately 40,000 eggs per year.
  2. While we continue to receive angler reports of our fish being taken in various parts of the Fish Creek system, Club members have not been as successful in finding fish. We were unable to tag any fish this year despite some effort to do so.
  3. Fish Creek experienced a number of days of low flow, high water temperatures on the order of 76 degrees F. In addition, the City of Rome DPW dredged silt from behind the Kessinger Dam in late summer depositing it below the dam to wash down stream. The effect on our fish from these events is unknown. Determining how to evaluate the effect and determining how to prevent in-stream mortality from these annual occurrences will be an important topic for the coming year.

In looking toward the coming year and beyond, the Club has a number of exciting challenges:

  1. The first of these challenges is increasing the number of fry stocked in the Creek. Kevin Kelsey of the Grand Isle (VT) hatchery has indicated that if he has excess Atlantic Salmon fry available in the spring of 2004 he is willing to give those to us as he did this past spring. It is hoped that these fry will be the Sebago strain that we need for our conditions. Because the fish from the Grand Isle hatchery are excess to their needs, the availability is always tentative, depending on a number of factors out of our control. Clearly, we need additional facilities where we can hatch and raise fry from eggs we purchase ourselves. My personal dream has always been and continues to be the construction of our own Atlantic Salmon fry hatchery. We need to continue having discussions on this topic and to look for places where the right water conditions, with the right winter accessibility can be found for this facility to be built.
  2. We have had three years of successful stocking events under our collective belts, we need to continue this record for the coming year and be prepared to plant as many fish as possible in the right places at the right time as always.
  3. Everyone agrees that the Adirondack Guideboat project will yield us a sizable source of funds and as soon as the weather permits in the spring, we need to take up this project, get the first boat built as soon as possible to display for raffle ticket sales.
  4. The change in DEC administration in the Watertown office has been noted at several of the Club meetings. We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the previous fisheries manager, Al Schivone and we need to establish and maintain that kind of relationship with the new manager, Frank Flack.
  5. Given the gradually increasing number of our fish that are being reported from anglers we can hope for even more fish to be seen in the Fish Creek system for the coming year. Club members will need to devote more of their own angling time to the Creek in the interest of taking scale samples and tagging fish for future documentation.

Finally, as a personal note, I would like express my heartfelt appreciation to each and every member of the Atlantic Salmon Fish Creek Club for your unwavering dedication to a goal that some straggling, unconverted naysayers believe is tilting at windmills. None of our successes, however success is defined, could have been possible without your hard, devoted efforts. Until this year, I never dreamed that I would live long enough to see an Atlantic Salmon return to Fish Creek, regardless from where. Now, that dream is rapidly growing closer to a reality the joy of which we will all be able to share.

Respectfully submitted,

Allen A. Fannin, President
Atlantic Salmon Fish Creek Club