The Fishing Line - January 27th Issue

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
DEC Delivers - Information to keep you connected and informed from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
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The Fishing Line - January 27th Issue

Freshwater Fishing, Fisheries Management, and Fishing Access News

In This Issue:

  • Ice Fishing 101
  • Chinook Salmon Stocking Targets Increased for 2023
  • Highlight Hatchery - Caledonia Fish Hatchery

Ice Fishing 101

Family ice fishing on a lake

Now that it looks like winter's settled in and safe ice is easier to come by, now's a great time to plan a day out on the ice. If you're not sure where to start or could use a refresher, check out the following resources to help you plan a fun ice fishing outing:

Chinook Salmon Stocking Targets Increased for 2023

Fish being stocked into a small net pen cage

DEC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) have agreed to a 10% increase in Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Ontario this year. We have been adaptively managing the number of salmon and trout stocked in Lake Ontario, since 2016, based on the alewife biomass and Chinook salmon growth and condition. In 2022, the age-2 and older alewife biomass increased and is predicted to remain at similar levels in 2023 and 2024 (see below for a full report prepared by USGS). The average weight of an age-3 Chinook salmon increased to 20.7 pounds in 2022 and remained above the lower threshold of 18.4 pounds.

As a result, DEC will stock 985,180 Chinook salmon in 2023 – an increase of approximately 90,000 over 2022. The additional fish are being spread evenly across the stocking sites listed in the Lake Ontario salmon and trout stocking strategy, except the Salmon River stocking numbers will remain the same as in 2022 (serving and the water for hatchery broodstock, it already receives higher numbers than the other stocking locations).

2023 Chinook salmon stocking targets (Location, Number stocked)

  • Niagara River - 89,930
  • Eighteenmile Creek (Olcott) - 126,330
  • Oak Orchard Creek - 126,330
  • Genesee River - 126,330
  • Oswego River - 126,330
  • Salmon River - 300,000
  • Sackets Harbor (Black River) - 89,930

Adaptively managing the number of salmon and trout stocked in Lake Ontario ensures we maintain a predator prey balance and continue to provide world-class fishing opportunities for years to come.

Lake Ontario April prey fish survey results and Alewife assessment, 2022 (PDF)

Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Stocking Strategy- 2022-2026 (PDF)

Highlight Hatchery - Caledonia Fish Hatchery

Caledonia fish hatchery

New this year we'll be featuring one of our 12 DEC fish hatcheries every month. Each of them are unique in their own way, so we hope you enjoy learning about each one and make plans to visit. Enjoy!

Caledonia Fish Hatchery

Location: Livingston County, between the Villages of Mumford and Caledonia

Visitor Hours: 8 am - 4 pm daily (weekends too)

Species raised: brown trout- roughly 70,000 two-year-olds (12-14") and 240,000 yearlings (9"). That evens out to about 135,000 pounds of fish - the second highest raised at any of DEC's 12 hatcheries. Caledonia is also responsible for raising another 75,000 – 9" Rainbow Trout at Cedar Springs, a satellite hatchery 5 miles away (not open to the public).

Where We Stock: Caledonia Fish Hatchery staff stock 10 counties, covering the western basin of Lake Ontario, the eastern basin of Lake Erie, a few of the Finger Lakes, and many streams throughout Western NY.

Recent Upgrades: The historic main hatchery building has undergone major renovations, along with improvements to the parking lot, walkways, and fish pond piping. Fingers crossed, we also hope to bring an old abandoned pond back online this year, enabling us to produce another 30,000 yearling fish!

Fun fact: Seth Green, considered the "Father of Fish Culture," founded Caledonia Fish Hatchery in 1864. At almost 160 years old, we're proud to say that New York has the oldest fish hatchery in the Western Hemisphere.

Note: Fishing is permitted on site just above the hatchery in Spring Creek, the hatchery's main water source, from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm. Be sure to check the Fishing Regulations Guide because special regulations are in effect there.

Learn more:

Caledonia Fish Hatchery (PDF)

DEC Fish Hatcheries

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