There are thousands of new fish in the Missisquoi River. Last Tuesday night, Vermont Fish and Wildlife workers released 5,500 young Muskellunge fingerlings or “Muskies” into the Missisquoi River in Swanton. It’s part of a six-year effort to restock the species into Vermont waters.
If the new fish make it to adulthood they could grow to be 25 years old and weigh 50 pounds. They hope the late night drop-off helps.
“We do this in the evening and as it approaches dark, the boats will go out and we’ll put these fish into the water. So not only are we putting them into thick cover, where they can hide, but we are doing it under the cover of darkness, as well, which offers them another layer of darkness,” – Shawn Smith, Vermont Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist.
Experts say the muskies, a predator fish, are good from an ecological perspective and are also popular with sport fishermen.
The fingerlings come from a hatchery in New York State and were free as part of a partnership between the two states to reintroduce the fish to its historical territory.
The decline in the Lake Champlain muskie population began in the 1970’s. The species is thought to have been wiped out in the lake after a spill from a paper mill in the late 1970’s.
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