Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery
Northeast Region

Fish Species

Current Fish Production

  • 95,000 landlocked Atlantic salmon smolts (Lake Champlain)
  • 100,000 two year Atlantic salmon smolts (Connecticut River)
  • 45,000 yearling brook trout (Vermont waters)
  • 16,000 yearling lake trout (Vermont waters)
  • 400,000 Atlantic salmon fry (Connecticut River)
  • Oversight and technical assistance to the Berkshire Trout Hatchery

Eggs are received at the station in November of each year from broodstock hatcheries. They are placed in incubators inside the hatchery building where they hatch from one to five months later depending on temperature. The newly hatched sac-fry stay in troughs inside the building where they absorb their yolk sac and develop. In May they are moved outside to raceways where they continue to grow. The production fish are usually kept in the covered raceways as they prefer shade to direct sunlight because salmon can be susceptible to sunburn. The covers also provide the protection from a variety of predators.

The small salmon and trout are originally placed in only a few raceways. As they grow, they are split off and moved to more raceways, to give them sufficient room. By the onset of winter the fish will have been spread to fill all forty of the hatchery’s 100’x8’ raceways. Young fry are fed every 20 minutes once they have absorbed their yolk sacs. In the outside raceways they are generally fed hourly, though this varies with conditions. During the winter, cold water slows the fishes metabolism and they are fed less often.

The landlocked salmon, brook trout and lake trout spend the following year in the raceways, growing to an average length of 7 inches. They are then stocked the following Spring, after spending 18 months in the hatchery. The Atlantic salmon for the Connecticut River are two year old smolts (7”-9” salmon ready to migrate to the ocean) and spend about 30 months at the hatchery. When stocking, some 10,000 fish are placed in a tank on the hatchery's fish distribution truck. The tank is aerated and has oxygen injection into the water. The fish are driven to the stocking site where the bed is raised and a six-inch diameter hose attached to the end of the tank. The tank is opened and the fish are drawn directly into the water. The salmon are stocked in Lake Champlain or the Connecticut River or their tributaries. The brook trout and lake trout are released around Vermont in various lake, ponds and streams.

During the summer months some three hundred adult fish are kept in the fenced display pond opposite the kiosk. A feed pellet machine is available if you wish to try your hand at feeding the fish.

Last updated: July 16, 2009
Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery
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