Our Local Fishery

The Salmon river is located on the Tug HIll Plateau in central New York on the east side of Lake Ontario.  It is 44 miles long and flows directly into the Salmon River Reservoir. The Salmon River Fish Hatchery is a large fishery that supplies 3.5 million trout and salmon, and 9 million walleye fry each year. These fish then can travel in over 100 public waters including Lake Ontario. The Salmon River Fish Hatchery houses a high diversity of salmon and trout including Chinook, Coho, Stealhead, Atlantic and Brown trout. The introduction of the Pacific salmon started heavily in the 1960’s due to the near extinction of the Atlantic salmon population. This caused a dramatic spike in the alewife populations, a bait fish which is the prey of many freshwater systems. The Non-native Pacific salmon released from hatcheries was in response to this increase of alewifes to bring their populations back to a sustainable level.  Today these non-native salmon surrounding Lake Ontario contribute a major component of the lakes recreational fishery.

(A map of the hatchery)

The 1980’s supported the largest number of released fish into Lake Ontario with over 8 million fish.  That number has been reduced to around 4-5 million fish per year starting in 1992 when OMNR and the NYDEC did a managment review of the hatchery. The problem is that stocking levels are set by managers with little understanding of the relative impact that large number’s of released fish can have on an ecosystem. The reduction of introduced fish numbers was met with much public resistance as average annual angler expenditures exceed $170 million, making fishing a huge source of revenue for the surrounding area. The public was afraid the reduction would lower the quality of fishing of the surrounding rivers and lakes, but the surrounding area is a hot spot for trout and salmon anglers up to this very day.

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