Category Archives: News

News and events around the Lake Champlain Valley of northern New York and Vermont and southern Quebec

Ed Weed Fish Culture Station Improvement to Improve Health of Lake Champlain Salmon

Ed Weed Fish Culture Station Improvement to Benefit Lake Champlain’s Salmon

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department expects that an upgrade at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle, Vermont will improve the health of the salmon population in Lake Champlain.

 

 

fish trap at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle.
Fish Culture Operations Chief Adam Miller with a landlocked Atlantic salmon
from the newly-installed fish trap at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle.

 

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department hatchery staff, fisheries biologists and other officials recently joined forces to construct a fish trap on the station’s discharge stream, Hatchery Brook. The trap will help to improve the collection process for adult salmon when they return to the brook to spawn.

After collection, the adult salmon will be used to reproduce and provide fertilized eggs at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle, where the eggs will be hatched and the young salmon raised before their return to Lake Champlain.

“Being able to collect fish in a safe, efficient and effective way for both staff and salmon is key to our overall fisheries management plan. The improvements we’ve completed at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station allow us to meet these objectives more effectively and ultimately produce healthy salmon for our Lake Champlain restoration efforts.” ~ Adam Miller, fish culture operations chief with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

Former collection methods required more handling, put more stress on the fish, and were less efficient for hatchery staff and biologists.

“The new fish trap decreases the risk of injuries to adult salmon from handling and increases the health and condition of parent fish used to provide fertilized eggs to our hatchery system”. It should also decrease the stress on eggs taken from parent fish, which may improve egg survival rates in the hatchery.” ~ Chet MacKenzie, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

The fish trap will also help fisheries biologists more efficiently collect data  from large numbers of returning salmon. The data collected will feature lamprey wounding rates, fish size, abundance and age structure – aiding the department’s assessment of salmon restoration efforts.

Ed Weed Fish Culture Station Improvement to benefit Lake Champlain Salmon

Landlocked Salmon, Salmo salar

The fish trap will also serve as an education tool. The public will be able to see fish when the trap is in operation, learn about salmon restoration efforts at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station and in Lake Champlain, and learn about fish culture and the impacts of invasive species.

According to Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner, Louis Porter, “We are always looking for ways to protect and improve the health and number of fish and other wildlife in the most efficient ways possible. These improvements in how we trap fish, so we can collect and fertilize salmon eggs were developed by hatchery staff and fisheries biologists, and their efforts to come together to put in place cost-effective solutions to improve our work will benefit the salmon population for years to come.”

To purchase a Vermont fishing license or to find out more about fishing opportunities in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

 

 

Other Lake Champlain Wildlife Articles:

 

 


Lake Champlain One of Best Smallmouth Bass Lakes in North America

Once again Lake Champlain has received another world-class fishing designation. World Fishing Network, a renowned fishing media outlet, has ranked Lake Champlain as one of North America’s seven best smallmouth bass lakes.

Lake Champlain One of Best Smallmouth Bass Lakes

20.0″ / 3.8 lb. Lake Champlain Smallmouth Bass caught by Robert Finch

First reported on WFN’s website, the ranking,describes Lake Champlain as “perhaps the best lake in all of North America for both quality largemouth and smallmouth bass.”

“This reinforces what Vermonters have known for years, that Lake Champlain has some of the best bass fishing anywhere, Not only does the big lake have some of the best fishing, it also offers some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere, especially at this time of year.” ~  Louis Porter Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner.

Why is Lake Champlain a Top Smallmouth Fishery?

Smallmouth bass can be found throughout the 120-mile lake and have thrived in Lake Champlain’s fertile waters where they have easy access to prime habitat and a large population of forage foods. The rocky bottom composition of Lake Champlain and its healthy populations of yellow perch and crayfish create optimal conditions for smallmouth bass to flourish.

Vermont fisheries biologist Shawn Good, who manages bass populations at the lake’s southern end, is also an avid bass angler, and he agrees with WFN’s assessment.

“The bass population data I’ve collected over the years through electrofishing surveys clearly indicates that bass are abundant, healthy and thriving, Champlain is a true gem, and it’s important to take note that bass fishing is only one of the many world-class fishing opportunities available in the lake. With more than 90 species of fish present, probably no other lake in the country offers so many different species to target.” ~ Shawn Good,Vermont fisheries biologist.

Lake Champlain One of Best Smallmouth Bass Lakes

The full report continues, “The combined fishery makes Champlain a popular destination for the biggest tournament circuits in the U.S., like B.A.S.S. and FLW. Though anglers can try and go for broke and chase monster largemouths, for the most consistent results, finding smallmouth bass schools along the northern part of the lake is the way to go, especially on the Vermont side. Like with Lake Erie, fall is the best time for smallmouth on Champlain, as bass follow the baitfish into the shallows as the water cools.”

Accomplished professional tournament angler Kevin VanDam always looks forward to fishing Lake Champlain.

“What makes Lake Champlain unique is that you can catch fish – both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass alike – just about any way you want to. It’s an amazing fishery with diverse habitat throughout and large, healthy populations of many species of fish. Whether you’re an avid tournament angler or recreational fisherman, you’ll want to experience Lake Champlain fishing. It’s simply that good.”  ~ tournament angler, Kevin VanDam

Other Top Smallmouth Fishing Waters

The other six top smallmouth fisheries according to the WFN article are: Lake Erie (New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania & Ohio) Lake Simcoe (Ontario), Lake St. Clair (Michigan & Ontario), Dale Hollow Lake (Tennessee & Kentucky), Grand Traverse Bay (Michigan), and Sturgeon Bay (Wisconsin). Honorable mentions were given to: Bay de Noc (Michigan),Pickwick Lake (Alabama & Tennessee), Candlewood Lake (Connecticut), Rainy Lake (Ontario), Lake of the Woods (Minnesota & Ontario), Kentucky Lake (Kentucky & Tennessee) and St. Lawrence River (New York, Quebec & Ontario).

To purchase a Vermont fishing license or to find out more about fishing opportunities in Vermont, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

Volunteers Needed for Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

Vermont Fish & Wildlife is looking for volunteers to help with the annual spiny softshell turtle beach clean up day on Saturday, October 25.

Spiny softshell Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

Spiny softshell turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtle Beach Clean Up

The volunteers will remove vegetation from nesting beaches to prepare turtle nesting sites for next year. They might also find a few hatchlings that have remained in nests underground this late in the year. In addition to threatened spiny softshell turtles, these nest sites are also used by map turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles.

“This is a great way to help conserve a threatened species right here in Vermont, It’s also a fun way to learn more about the turtles and to see some recently hatched baby turtles. Last year we had nearly 50 participants, so we’re anticipating a strong turnout again this year.” ~  Steve Parren, Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist Steve Parren will have hatchling spiny softshell turtles on hand and will talk about his long-term recovery efforts with the species. Some hatchling turtles will be raised in captivity by the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center while they are small and most vulnerable to predation. They will be released back into Lake Champlain next spring.

North Hero Turtle Beach Clean Up Day

What You’ll Need For The Beach Clean Up

Participants  for the Turtle Beach Clean Up Day should arrive at North Hero State Park between 10 and 11 AM., dress in layers of warm clothes, and bring work gloves, a leaf rake, short-handled tools such as trowels, and their own lunch. Families and kids are welcome. The cleanup may run until 4 PM.

How To Get To North Hero State Park

North Hero State Park is located in the Lake Champlain Islands. To get there: follow Route 2 north past Carry Bay in North Hero, turn right on Lakeview Drive (just before Route 2 swings west toward Alburgh), and follow Lakeview until you reach the North Hero State Park entrance sign on the left. Drive to the end of the road always bearing right.

 

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Burlington Waterfront Park Power Lines Coming Down

Power lines coming down from Burlington Waterfront Park

View of Adirondack Mountains from Burlington Waterfront

The view at Burlington’s Waterfront Park will soon be improved!

After 56 years of service on the waterfroint, power lines and utility poles are being removed offering an unobstructed view of New York’s Adirondack Mountains across Lake Champlain.

Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell says the lines are being removed from Waterfront Park due to upgrades to the transmission system throughout Chittenden County. These upgrades have made it possible to reliably operate without the lines marring the scenic waterfront.

Burlington Waterfront Park

City of Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger says the work will enhance the beauty of Waterfront Park and the northern waterfront for the enjoyment of the community and visitors.

 

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EPA Head in VT to Discuss Lake Champlain Clean-up Plans

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in Vermont

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is in Vermont today to talk about plans for cleaning up Lake Champlain.

McCarthy, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is meeting Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and other officials to begin a ‘Call To Action’ meeting with representatives of other federal agencies. The group will develop action plans to reduce pollution and harmful algae blooms in Lake Champlain.

Blue Green Algae & Lake Champlain clean-up

EPA Assistance for Lake Champlain Clean-up

McCarthy is expected to offer technical assistance from the EPA to help the city of Burlington take a more “integrated approach to stormwater and wastewater” projects.

“EPA is committed to helping communities meet their requirements and goals for water projects that benefit public health, the environment, and the local economy, Integrated planning provides the important flexibility that cities and towns need to address water challenges in an efficient and effective manner.” ~ Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator

Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator & Lake Champlain clean-up

Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator

Integrated planning lets communities sequence projects so they can begin the highest priority  ones first. EPA technical assistance will help recipients meet Clean Water Act requirements for water management in a cost-effective and environmentally beneficial way. In the past, EPA, states and municipalities focused on meeting each Clean Water Act requirement separately, an approach that might have kept communities from addressing the most serious water issues first.

Burlington, Vermont Selected for EPA Program

Burlington was one of five communities selected from around the country to participate in the project. The award to Burlington was based on its proposal to evaluate the financial capability to fund an integrated stormwater and wastewater program; to develop criteria for prioritizing community wastewater and stormwater needs based on social, economic and environmental factors; to develop a list of example projects that rank highly based on these criteria; and to evaluate innovative methods for pollutant reduction.

After a meeting at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, McCarthy is going to visit St. Albans Bay, which was particularly hard-struck by blue-green algae this past summer.

Read more info about the EPA technical assistance program.  

Further Reading: