Atlantic Salmon Fish Creek Club
Annual Report -2004
The club has had its ups and downs during the 2004 year. The worse setback was that of the death of Allen Fannin due to a tragic accident. He was a big part of the club and his enthusiasm and energy will be missed by all that knew him. We can honor his memory by recommitting ourselves to the task of restoring Atlantic salmon in their home waters.
A memorial service for Allen was held at Hendrick's Chapel on October 4. Members of the club assisted with setting up the chapel under the direction of Peggy Cahill. The Sacred Harp Singers of which Allen was a member performed the interlude. Several colleagues and friends gave speeches. A reception followed at Slocum Hall afterwards.
The club made and passed a resolution to create the Allen Fannin Memorial Fund. This will be used to send underprivileged kids to camp.
Large Atlantic Salmon Recovered
On that note we can say that the year has been encouraging. One of the goals of the club was to have a spawning run of fish in Fish Creek. We don't know for certain if spawning has occurred or not but a number of large Atlantic salmon have been caught through out the East Branch from the Lewis county line to the mouth of the river in Sylvan Beach. The largest fish was a hook jawed male that measured 21 inches. A number of slightly smaller females with eggs were also recovered. Hopefully, spawning has happened and perhaps there is a chance of wild young salmon being born without the intervention of man.
The fact that large Atlantic salmon have been caught above Kessinger Dam may indicate that some fish are residualizing in the river. By large we mean greater than the legal size of 15 inches. A 17 inch salmon was recovered and was determined to be three years old by examining the scales
Raffle Sales a Success
The club did well again in selling raffle tickets. Some $1526 was raised. Sincere thanks goes to the members and the general public who bought tickets for the raffle. Thanks also goes to Doctor Paul Fallon and Robert Alexander. An especially a big thank you goes to Tom Schnieder who ran the raffle again this year and who collected the prizes. The drawing was held in April and members volunteered to give the prizes to the winners. This is a fun thing to do.
The club set up its booth at a number of shows in 2004. We were able to sell raffle tickets at the Fragile Wilderness Show held in Watertown. The show was a one-day event held on January 31. Several members manned the booth and we were able to sell a number of raffle tickets despite a lower than normal turn-out because of the weather. Thanks goes to the members who braved the elements and manned the booth.
The club also set up its booth in Utica at the Outdoor and Camping Show. This is a three day event and several members manned the booth. The club did quite well again in selling raffle tickets.
As usual the club set up its booth at the open
house held each year at the Salmon River Hatchery in Altmar. This
is an informational show only for the club
Experimental Hatching Project
Due to the high mortality to our salmon last year at Carpenters Brook Hatchery the tank was de-installed and placed in the outlet to a spring on Tom Tkachuk's property. The club wanted to run an experiment to determine the water quality flowing from the spring. One way to check water quality is to place fertilized eggs in the water and see how they develop. We applied for and got the necessary permission to run the experiment from Region 6 Fisheries Manager, Frank Flack. On February 5 the club received 1500 eyed eggs and they were placed in the tank. After some initial mortality, water flow was adjusted and some rocks were placed in the tank to provide some refuge from the current. By April the fish were doing well. The club bought an automatic feeder run by a battery and installed it.
In early May we were getting some mortality of the fish so club members met on Wednesday May 19, at Tkachuks. The fish were removed and placed in Point Rock Creek. An estimated 700 fry from the original 1500 eggs survived the experiment and it was an unqualified success. Dissolved oxygen in the water was less than 70% and was thought to be a factor. The die-offs when the eggs first hatched was thought to be caused by too much flow.
The first part of the shipment of 1500 eggs occurred on February 4. Paul Miller took delivery and placed them in the tank installed at Tkachuks. About 40,000 eggs were shipped to the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery on February 5.
On June 4 club members traveled to the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery to prepare our fish for travel. They stayed at the Little Pond Campgrounds which is not far the hatchery. Revile came at 4.00 AM Saturday. The fish were not in as good shape as in earlier years. Some were definitely smaller than others. Fish were placed in water in plastic bags and oxygen was used to replace the air. Bags were sealed and placed in coolers along with ice. The truck was loaded by 6:30. After breakfast in Walton the fish arrived in Taberg by 10:00. The stocking crew was waiting and the fish were placed in the East Branch of Fish Creek in due order.
Thanks goes out to the volunteers who helped out by giving a Saturday morning to the project. Representatives were present from local chapters of Trout Unlimited. Lets all hope that the fish do well and live to travel the waters that their ancestors once did.
On Wednesday, June 8 Allen and Gary traveled to Vermont to pick up Atlantic salmon fry (Mephremagog strain) from the Grand Isle Hatchery. We borrowed a tank from the Salmon River Fish hatchery in which to transport the fish. These fish were excess fish and were made available to us by Kevin Kelsey which the club appreciates very much. The fish were placed in a number of sites in the Mad River.
We lost about 1/3 of the fish during the trip from Vermont. Allen suggested that the reason is that the fish congregated at the bottom of the tank and smothered one another. We could prevent this by placing the fish in trays in the tank to segregate them.
The total number of fish actually stocked is really hard to determine. We got an estimated 40,000 from Grand Isle. An estimated third of which died in transit. Of the 40,000 eggs hatched at the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery it was estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 fish had survived.
In 2005 we will be placing 45,000 eggs in the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery. The club will assist in cleaning the tank. In addition the club will be putting 5,000 eggs in the tank at Tkachuks. The Salmon River Hatchery donated a tank to the club to be used to transport the fish.
Norm Webber and Bill Legg from Save Our Streams made a presentation to the club about monitoring water quality and on September 4, club members helped in monitoring stream flow, invertebrate life, dissolved oxygen and conductivity. The club expect that this will be a continuing effort.
The Club's Own Hatchery
Beginning in June club members talked about building our own hatchery. Our source of fish is a private hatchery that is hatching eggs for us free of charge. We are very grateful for this but obviously, we should not count on having someone else hatch eggs for us forever for free.
After much discussion it was thought that the Blossvale area would be a good area to have a hatchery. Water seems to be of good quality and quantity. Deep wells would be a preferred to surface water. A 20 by 40 foot building would be adequate. An ideal set up for the club would be two incubators and 4 to 6 round tanks. The additional equipment is a safety factor so that problems that might effect an incubator would not endanger the other. Assuming that a round tank requires 5 gallons per minute means that we need a source of water in the 20 to 30 gallons per minute. Building our own hatchery is a long term project but one can dream.
Trip to Grand Isle Hatchery
Jim Lawler made a trip to the
Grand Isle Hatchery looking for information about
hatcheries. Kevin Kelsey was cooperative and the trip was
very informative. Jim made a presentation to the club,
Camden Rod and Gun Club
Club members volunteered to help the Camden Rod and Gun Club with their Sunday breakfasts for the month of January. Members who volunteered said that it was a lot of fun.