The Downeast Lakes Land Trust in partnership with the Grand Lake Stream Fish Hatchery, was pleased to host a tour of the hatchery and a salmon milking demonstration.
Community members and students from Indian Township donned hip boots and waded into the hatchery’s frigid waters to sort immature females, and assess gravid females for their readiness to lay eggs.
Landlocked salmon are native to the West Grand Lake watershed. The hatchery uses only local fish for release in the watershed and helps to sustain the sport fishery. “We produce about 80,000 of the West Grand Salmon strain each year,” said Fish Culture Supervisor, David Marsanskis.
“This is really a once in a lifetime thing to see,” said an attendee leaning over the water, as students gently palpitated the fish’s abdomens.
“You are looking for a squishy plastic bag feeling if the eggs are ready,” explained Mr. Marsanskis.
“Atlantic Salmon don’t die after the spawn, unless we are too rough with them. These girls will breed several times before we release them, and live to be about eight in the wild,” said Marsanskis.
Fish like salmon and trout depend on clean cold waters to grow and breed. Well-managed forests such as the Farm Cove Community Forest (owned by the Downeast Lakes Land Trust) hold soil in place and filter nutrients, helping protect the key resource for landlocked salmon into the future.