Review and pictures by Mark Daul         

An Outdoors Niagara Exclusive!

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   Wilson NY Spring Steelhead Stocking April 

"T J" Jacob

See photos below to see how big this steelie was when he/she was a baby!

  Click the pics!

There were a total of 27,000 steelhead trout stocked in Twelve Mile Creek. 12,000 were stocked in the west branch and 10,000 stocked in the east branch. In addition, 5,000 were stocked in the Town of Wilson rearing pens. Backed by the Town and supervised by many volunteer residents, this program has proved very successful and as well as any other program like it on Lake Ontario/Niagara River.

The volunteers met the DEC Truck that arrived at 12:45 PM from the Altmar NY Hatchery.
It was quite cold and windy with a breeze from the east. Harbor water temp was around 42-44 degrees which was ideal.  The fish didn't mind though. 

Charter Captain Mike Lis has taken the volunteer lead to organize and oversee the feeding schedules by even more volunteers. Lis is also the lead communications man with the DEC. NYS DEC Chief Biologist Mike Wilkinson is the contact person and he oversees all stocking efforts in the DEC Region 9.

Rearing Pen.JPG (74009 bytes)
One of two pens waiting 
for stocking
Altmar DEC Truck.JPG (65517 bytes)
DEC Truck backing up to release the baby fish which measured at 5 to 6 inches
M Wilkinson driver.JPG (66173 bytes)
DEC's Mike Wilkinson and assistant hooking up the discharge pipe
Volunteers.JPG (97025 bytes)
Volunteers managing the other end
lots of steelhead.JPG (95919 bytes)
There they go! 
5,000 babys!
Bradclark Mikelis.JPG (81359 bytes)
Brad Clark [L] Town of Wilson liaison, and Captain Mike Lis talking "fish"

Interesting note: As the fish were coming down the pipe to the pen, they wanted to stay in the pipe and were trying to swim upstream against the flow. As always, the water lying in the low spots of the pipe had to be flushed out by raising the high end of the pipe even higher so they  would all come out. The volunteers treat these fish as though they were family.

Lake Release on beach

When being released directly to the lake, many of these little guys, after being pushed out the pipe into the lake, would  actually swim back up the pipe despite the flow of water coming down. [see middle picture] The volunteers will stand the pipe upright so they are all forced out. It's like a bunch of little kids looking back for their mother on the beach to make sure it is OK to go in. They will swarm in groups at the lake edge until finally disappear from sight. Some even try to swim on the sand like the photo on the right. Actually they get disoriented and eventually find their way back to the water where they know they will be safe.

hooking up pipe.JPG (87865 bytes)
Setting up the pipe
The guy in the background is Terry Swan, retired tackle dealer and he always volunteers his services to the betterment of the fishery.
release steelies.JPG (90241 bytes)
Notice how after being released, these little guys want to hang around the pipe where they came from. When the pipe is removed, in time they will meander off and out of sight
beached steelie.JPG (129649 bytes)
Beached! This little fishy found his way around in no time. His friends were all swimmin' in the lake! He went back and lived happily ever after.

The photos above were from the lake stocking on 5/02/06 and done by Town of Wilson Volunteers.




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