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Naturalized Wilde Brown Trout Project Completed

Staff from DEC Regions 6 and 7 Fisheries Units, along with the Rome Fish Disease Control Unit (Rome Lab), recently completed a wild brown trout collection on upper Oriskany Creek in Madison County. That section of the creek has not been stocked since the early 1990s because of the healthy wild trout population present.

These “wild” trout are naturalized “Rome Strain” fish which exhibit “the right stuff” for success in New York streams.

Milt (sperm) is collected from the “Oriskany” males and transported back to the Rome Lab where it’s mixed with eggs from “hatchery” females. Infusing wild fish genetics and traits into the DEC hatchery brood stock better adapts these “new” Rome Strain brown trout to life in streams after stocking, ultimately increasing their survival and recruitment to a fishery. While the project is in its fifth year, the first stocking of these brown trout descended from an Oriskany milt collection will begin (partially) in 2023 and fully replace our current browns in 2024.

To date, only experimental streams in various regions of NYS have received these fish, and results have been encouraging.

Restoring Cisco in Keuka Lake

On October 15, staff from DEC Region 8 Fisheries, Bath Fish Hatchery, and United States Geological Survey -Tunison (USGS) stocked 205,000 cisco, Coregonus artedi, into Keuka Lake as part of an experimental native forage fish restoration project.

The stocked fish came from eggs collected from Chaumont Bay in Lake Ontario and were reared at USGS Tunison Lab and DEC’s Bath and Oneida hatcheries. Sixty cisco were implanted with small acoustic tags and 20 receivers were strategically placed throughout the lake to record tagged fish movements.

DEC, USGS, and Cornell University are collaborating to study the movements, survival, and habitat use of cisco. This was the third year of stocking with a total of 399,000 cisco stocked. Cisco were last collected in Keuka Lake in 1994.

Recent changes relating to decreasing lake productivity and a collapse in the non-native alewife population provided the opportune time to attempt cisco restoration in Keuka Lake. Cisco are a native species that are generally better suited than alewives for low productivity waters, are longer lived, and can be recreationally harvested.

For the most recent forage assessment study on Keuka Lake click, visit DEC's website (PDF).

Cayuga lnlet Boom Helps Fish Passage

Every Fall since 2017, the fishway (ladder) on Cayuga Inlet has been open to allow landlocked Atlantic salmon and brown trout passage in hopes of improving fishing opportunities upstream of the ladder. In previous years the results have been mediocre, but a floating boom installed in fall 2020 has improved its effectiveness. The floating boom deflects leaves and debris over the dam, keeping the grates in the fishway clear. Cleaner grates pass water more efficiently, helping to attract fish into the fishway. To date, DEC Region 7 Fisheries staff have manually passed 249 landlocked Atlantic salmon and 44 rainbow trout. Numerous brown trout have been observed below the dam, but only three have used the ladder. The fishway will remain open until icy conditions make it unsafe for DEC to operate.

DEC Releases Final Trout Stream Management Plan

This week, trout anglers can check out the new statewide Trout Stream Management Plan. Planning began in 2017 with 20 public meetings held to identify angler’s desired outcomes for the state's numerous and diverse trout streams. The result is a document that provides distinct approaches to managing both wild and stocked trout fisheries. The final plan is the product of extensive public engagement and sound science that embraces simplicity, encourages angler participation, and recognizes the value of managing trout streams for self-sustaining populations of wild trout.

Anglers can also go to DEC’s website to view the fishing regulations proposed to implement the plan and instructions for submitting comments. DEC is accepting public comments on the proposed rule changes from Nov. 25, 2020, to Jan. 25, 2021.

Read DEC's news release on the Final Statewide Trout Stream Management Plan.

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