Monday, November 12, 2012

Salmon Sunday

We headed out today to watch the Atlantic Salmon Spawning on  Lake Winnipesaukee.
It was NH Fish and Game's annual Salmon Sunday.

They collect Salmon from the big lake and spawn them and raise the babies in a hatchery until they are a year and half old, when they release back into the lake.

This is done because there isn't enough suitable habitat for salmon to spawn in the tributaries of the lake. Salmon need clear cool, rocky bottom rivers to breed. Because NH has thousands of dams, there is no way salmon can reach the spawning grounds on their own. Some natural reproduction is occurring, but the numbers are so low it can't be sustained.

It wasn't romantic and according to my wife "A little obscene" but the kids loved it and a fish nerd like myself really liked it.

The event took place on Pope Dam in Melvin Village, maybe if we get rich from our book deal I will buy a place there.

Here is the process, its dirty and easy...

Biologists net salmon out of the trapping facility.
A nice looking female

Z gets to pet the fish

An impressive male

Biologists squeeze the eggs from the females into a bowl and the milt from the males and mix them together, give it a little rinse and viola! New Salmon get made... Sounds Romantic
Zoe said it looks like the fish is peeing...

Fresh Eggs! (approx 1000)

The females look deflated after the spawn, it must be a relief to drop the eggs.

Zoe got a chance to spawn some Salmon

She was not shy about squeezing the eggs out of the fish

Mixing the eggs and milt is where the magic happens

Now the eggs head off the to the Powder Mill Hatchery