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Jumbo Coaster Brook Trout Retire to Wisconsin Lakes
Midwest Region, December 17, 2015
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Brook trout were loaded into coolers and wheeled down a snowy enbankment for release into Wanoka Lake.
Brook trout were loaded into coolers and wheeled down a snowy enbankment for release into Wanoka Lake. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Volunteers from Trout Unlimited, Friends of the Iron River National Fish Hatchery and a local hiking club took turns wheeling the fish to the lake.
Volunteers from Trout Unlimited, Friends of the Iron River National Fish Hatchery and a local hiking club took turns wheeling the fish to the lake. - Photo Credit: USFWS
An unseasonable warm December allowed hatchery staff easier access to the lakes.  Fish were able to be discharged from the tanks via a hose directly into the lake.  These straglers are being gently moved into the hose.
An unseasonable warm December allowed hatchery staff easier access to the lakes. Fish were able to be discharged from the tanks via a hose directly into the lake. These straglers are being gently moved into the hose. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Fish are sometimes disorientated after leaving their cozy environment at the hatchery and hang around the edges of the shore line until acclimated to their new home.
Fish are sometimes disorientated after leaving their cozy environment at the hatchery and hang around the edges of the shore line until acclimated to their new home. - Photo Credit: USFWS

Iron River National Fish Hatchery raises approximately two million lake trout and coaster brook trout for restoration purposes in the upper Great Lakes. Roughly 8,000 adult and juvenile fish are maintained to produce these numbers. Adult brood fish are “retired” as their efficiency at producing eggs declines, egg/fish requests decline or space is needed for new brood fish.

The hatchery staff makes every effort to place these fish in the local fishery. Working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iron River National Fish Hatchery was able to stock more than 1,000 two to three pound coaster brook trout in three area lakes (Wanoka, Perch and Anderson) located in Bayfield and Douglas Counties of Wisconsin.

A local hiking group, along with members from the Hatchery’s Friends Group and Trout Unlimited, met hatchery staff and to assist with unloading the fish into the water. Wheeled travel coolers loaded with fish were lugged down steep embankments which were snow-covered and icy to the water’s edge. This year’s unseasonably warm weather left the lakes ice free and enabled volunteers and staff easier access to the water for dispersal of fish. Hatchery staff were very appreciative of the help from all the volunteers. Iron River is happy to put these fish to good use while forging stronger ties with local fisherman and enjoys hearing stories about “lunkers” caught and the one that got away.


Contact Info: Carey Edwards, 715-372-8510, Carey_Edwards@fws.gov
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