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Newly hatched brook trout fry, note the orange yolk sacs the fry will use for nutrition for their first couple weeks / USFWS.

Newly hatched brook trout fry, note the orange yolk sacs the fry will use for nutrition for their first couple weeks / USFWS.

Baby Brookies are Ready for Spring!

Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin has received its annual shipment of coaster brook trout eggs from the Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Iron River, Wisconsin.

The eggs arrived on station January 28, 2014 and started hatching on February 9, 2014. Genoa received 200,000 eggs to ensure enough fish for 67,000 spring fingerlings and 10,000 yearlings for restoration efforts in Lake Superior and native waters around Grand Portage, Minnesota. Iron River NFH and Genoa NFH have worked with the Grand Portage Tribe for several years to preserve the population and bring it back to historic levels.

The hatchery has traditionally requested larger numbers of eggs to ensure the needed stocking amounts. Over the last three years maintenance staff at Genoa installed new tanks, improved plumbing and added monitoring and alarm systems. These improvements increase survival dramatically at the early life stages of the baby brookies, causing a new issue of over-crowding.

The problem is easily remedied at Genoa by using the fish as a forage base for catfish infested with endangered winged mapleleaf mussels. This clean, high energy food source helps to keep the catfish well fed and reduces their chances of diseases from other forage sources. At each stage of development, once the needed numbers of fish are obtained, the lot of fish will be reduced to prevent overcrowding.  With 120,000 spring fingerlings as of April, the catfish are guaranteed a great lunch!

By Angela Baran

Last updated: April 10, 2014