BY CAREY EDWARDS, IRON RIVER NFH
The Iron River National Fish Hatchery (NFH) maintains 6,000 adult lake trout and coaster brook trout for restoration purposes in the upper Great Lakes Region. Every fall, fish are sorted by sex and maturity and spawned. Eggs are collected, incubated and either shipped to other government agencies or kept at Iron River NFH for production purposes. Over 10,000 pounds of fish are handled multiple times in this process and sometimes we need a helping hand to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner.
Helping out this year were volunteers from the Red Cliff Tribal Fish Hatchery (TFH) and 1854 Treaty Authority. Red Cliff TFH currently raises coaster brook trout and walleye. This partnership allows staff from both facilities to share techniques and ideas on different hatchery management practices and forge stronger ties for future collaborations. Volunteers from 1854 Treaty Authority have been coming to Iron River NFH for the past five years to help out during spawning and sorting. This has provided a dependable source of help for the hatchery while providing cross training for staff from 1854 Treaty Authority. The staff at Iron River would like to say “Thanks for a job well done!”
BY SHAWN SANDERS, IRON RIVER NFH
The Iron River National Fish Hatchery (NFH) raises approximately 1.5 million lake trout and coaster brook trout each year. Lake trout stocked from the hatchery are destined for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and are distributed as fall fingerlings and spring yearlings.
During the heat of summer it is easy to long for the colder days that will soon arrive in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The staff at Iron River NFH worked on a project to chill eggs to cooler temperatures, in the heat of winter. Seneca Lake (wild) Lake Trout eggs from Sullivan’s Creek NFH were received in the winter of 2013 and early 2014 and purposefully chilled about 5-6 degrees below the normal water temperature during January and February.
The purpose of this project was to define if it was possible to cool Lake Trout eggs without affecting survival within the hatchery. The reason this project was designed, was to keep fish smaller later into the year, with the ultimate goal of reaching distribution (stocking) times without having to hold fish off food. Survival to this point has been normal for the group of fish that were chilled. Finally, these fish will be the last to leave the hatchery and if it all works out -happy and healthy!