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Update from the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club

Feb 2, 2017   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes, Spey Fly Tying Video, Spey Nation Supporters, SpeyNation  //  Comments Off on Update from the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club

In an email correspondence with the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club,

We’re off to a good start this year.  We got 47,500 eggs and losses have been minimal.   The eggs are starting to hatch so we expect to be moving from the incubator building to the hatchery within a few months, depending on the weather.

That sounds great and can’t wait to see them in the river this June.

Check out the video I made while spending the day with the club stocking the Atlantic Salmon that were partially paid for and supported by our raffles at Spey Nation Events.   See you all this June 24th at the Pineville Lot for our 10th Spey Nation Celebration!


The Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Stocking Atlantic Salmon into the headwaters of Fish Creek from Spey Nation on Vimeo.

Spey Nation/Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Partnership

Apr 16, 2015   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   2016 SCSDFSFNMPD, Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo  //  Comments Off on Spey Nation/Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Partnership

Over the years, we have been asked about the contributions made by Spey Nation to the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club or have fielded suggestions about what we should be doing with the money collected for the raffles.   In the spring of 2012, I spent a day stocking the fruits of our efforts into the headwaters of Fish Creek.   The following is the outcome of that day and below that is the history of the club.  We are proud to continue this partnership and are excited to continue to support those interested in returning native fish to historical watersheds.

The Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Stocking Atlantic Salmon into the headwaters of Fish Creek from Spey Nation on Vimeo.


The club has been involved with restoring Atlantic salmon since 1997. It all started in the spring of 1997 when Ed Crosby believed that Atlantic salmon belonged to Fish Creek and should be brought back to their home waters.  The club was formed and bought the initial Atlantic Salmon fry that went into Fish Creek.  Later that year Margaret Murphy joined the club as she was doing her field work in preparation for a Ph.D.  From 1998 to 2000 the club helped stock the fish obtained by Margaret for her work. She was conducting research as to the growth rate of different species of Atlantic Salmon.

In late 1999 the club decided to obtain its own supply of Atlantic salmon as Margaret’s field work was nearly done. Allen made contact with the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery in early 2000 who volunteered to hatch eggs for us. Later in the year we obtained a surplus stainless steel tank used for photographic development from Griffis Air Force Base in Rome. We took possession of the tank in late 2000 after modifications were made. It was installed at the hatchery on December 16, 2000. Allen made the trays in which to hold the eggs while they hatched.

By this time we had learned about upstream spawners and downstream spawners. It was agreed that we needed upstream spawners. Species of land locked salmon evolved in different areas of the Northeast. Those fish that had no suitable spawning areas in tributaries flowing into a lake became outlet or downstream spawners. They hatched in the outlet and then moved upstream to a lake to mature. Upstream spawners hatched in streams, matured in a lake down stream and then moved upstream to spawn, exactly the situation we have. A source of Sebago strain was found and we got the necessary permissions from the state agencies to continue.

Success for the club in the beginning was thought to be a population of adult Atlantic salmon trying to jump over the Varick street dam in Oswego. That was the goal. We had been led to believe that Atlantic salmon would transit Oneida lake and would not stay long enough to mature. In early 2000 we heard reports of large salmon being caught in the lower part of Fish Creek. The first one occurring on March 14. Was it a salmon? No one really knew. We had put up posters, identifying Atlantic salmon in various places. Some one called in May, 2000 that he had caught a large Atlantic below Taberg. How did he know? He was an experienced Atlantic salmon fisherman and fished often for them in Maine.

In July 2001 two Atlantic salmon were caught below the Caughenoy dam. One was recovered by the club and was determined to be 3 years old. Were they on the way to Fish Creek or were they on their way to Lake Ontario? No one knew. We had not found out about otolith analysis yet. In August 2002 a 303 mm long Atlantic was netted by the Cornell Field Station at Shackleton Point on Oneida lake. Another was netted in 2003. Were fish maturing in Oneida lake we wondered? The club visited various bait shops around Oneida lake, handing out identification posters and asking to be informed if anybody caught Atlantic salmon in Oneida lake. During the winter of 2003-04 the club got many reports of Atlantic salmon being caught through the ice on Oneida Lake.

Thinking we needed another source of fry the club installed a tank at the Carpenters Brook Hatchery in late 2001. We tried hatching eggs there in 2002 and 2003 without much success. Water quality was thought to be the reason. We removed our tank in 2003 and tried an experimental hatching at Tkachuks in 2004 with mixed results. We thought we knew how to remedy the situation and we tried again in 2005 and it has worked out well.

In the fall of 2005 and early winter of 2006, the club built a hatchery on Tom Tkachuk’s property. A spring on the property was tapped to provide the water flow using gravity feed. About 50,000 salmon eggs were hatched in the tanks and released in the Spring of 2006. Later in the year, the hatchery was improved and another 50,000 eggs were hatched and released into the East Branch of Fish Creek.

The hatchery in Ava was a long way from where the active members of the club lived.  Because of the difficulty of members traveling to the site during the winter to take care of the fish, the club started looking for other alternatives.  Harden furniture was contacted in 2009 to see if they were interested in helping the club.  Permission was granted to test the water of the West Branch by placing a tank in the sluice way of the dam near the factory.  The club populated the tank with a few hundred eggs.  The eggs hatched and the fish grew faster than the fish we were raising in the hatchery in Ava.

Further discussions with Harden management resulted in their decision to build a facility for the club within certain restraints.  The land below the dam was in the flood plain and we could not build there.   Then the idea occurred  that the sluiceway might  serve if there was a cover for it.  A set of plans were drawn up and agreed to by Harden.  and during the fall of 2010 a roof for the sluiceway was built.  Harden owned the dam so there was no issue with permits.  Of course the club had to accept the possibilities of flood conditions but the hatchery used  no electrical power so there was no issue there.

In January 2011 the club moved its equipment into the new site, installed pipes and got water flowing through the tanks.  The salmon eggs arrived shortly after and the McConnellsville Hatchery was in business.  Club members took turns attending to the fish every day. The hatchery and the fish survived a flood and plans were made to better secure the tanks.  At one point we had a problem with a fungal infection.  We expected problems but also expected to surmount them and on July 2, the Atlantic salmon fry were stocked in the East Branch of Fish Creek.

Each year since the club has raised Atlantic salmon at the McConnellsville Hatchery.  In late 2013 the club got permission to install an incubator in a building owned by Harden.  It worked out great and eliminated some of the problems with the hatchery.

Lake Huron Fishing Is So Hot Right Now

Aug 4, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Great Lakes News  //  Comments Off on Lake Huron Fishing Is So Hot Right Now

Great News from upstream.  As all waters flow downstream through the great lakes, clean water and biodiversity is a good thing.  Native species = good. Clean Water = Good

Story of Lake Huron’s comeback

Strategic Vision of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission 2011–2020

Jul 31, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Salmon River Regulations  //  Comments Off on Strategic Vision of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission 2011–2020

An interesting history and vision for the Great Lakes.  Lots of good info for Atlantic Salmon in here

Worth the read.


That’s It, There’s Nothing Else We Can Really Do.

Jun 17, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Lessons After the Event, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes, Spey Nation Presenter, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on That’s It, There’s Nothing Else We Can Really Do.
Alright, This is it.  The PRESENTATION SCHEDULE is laid out, you can almost smell the burgers, the raffles are ready to be laid out, and somebody is going to be going to British Columbia…
We received a big box of give-aways from the Fly Fishing Film Tourlast night and everyone is going to be entered in the big sweepstakes to win a trip to Belize.  But you have to be there Friday night.  Come to the Tailwater Lodge for a free primer!  A customized version of the Fly Fishing Film Tour!
Saturday, come to the boat launch in Pineville, NY to learn about Spey Fishing, eat some free food, and meet new people who love the river and want to learn more about all the good things that come with 2 handed fishing.  You just might win something amazing that will change your life!  .
And finally Sunday, come fish Douglaston Salmon Run….For Free!
Take a Lesson Sunday after the event from one of these great instructors!

Fly Fishing Film Tour!

Friday June 20, 2014 8pm. Free Tickets! Tailwater Lodge Altmar, NY
Pick Your Tickets up in advance at The Tailwater Lodge 855-895-6343, Malindas Fly Shop 315-298-2993 Tightlines Fly Fishing 973-244-5990 and Oak Orchard Fly Shop 716-626-1323 Any available tickets will be available at the door on the night of the event. Seating is limited so advanced tickets are recomended. 

Spey Nation! You Know it, You Love it! Saturday June 21, 2014 8am-4pm Pineville Boat Launch–Salmon River Free Event Free Lunch by Tailwater Lodge “On the water” demonstrations Learn 2 handed techniques Try specialized equipment See the latest from the Manufacturers Raffles! to benefit the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club
Free Fishing in the DSR On Sunday! June 22, 2014 The Douglaston Salmon Run will be allowing all Spey Nation participants access to the DSR on Sunday.  Participants will be asked to pickup a voucher from the Spey Nation event on Saturday as proof of participation and present it at the DSR for their complimentary access pass on Sunday. If you’ve never seen the tasty pockets and smooth swingable slicks of the run then this would be a great time to walk the bank.

Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club News

Sep 27, 2013   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes  //  Comments Off on Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club News
Our president, Jim Lawler, and several of our Board members visited the Adirondack Hatchery near Lake Clear, New York, in order to learn more about the installation and operation of fish egg incubators. We also learned more about the water temperature and flow rates that are used there.   We have 2 incubators which were donated to our club by the Adirondack hatchery and we plan to start using one of them this coming year.  The Adirondack hatchery is dedicated to raising only Atlantic salmon, over one million per year, and we found out that the hatchery is changing over to Sebago strain of Atlantics.  Their fish are stocked throughout New York State.
Tom Schneider has made arrangements for getting a re-supply of Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club logo t-shirts and these will go on sale starting this weekend.  Thanks, Tom.
Jim Lawler is fabricating new windows to cover the screen windows of our hatchery.
Our members, Jim Lawler, Ted Collins and Arley Morey set up and manned our booth at the Beaver Lake Fall Festival this month.  Paul Miller, Tom Schneider and Joan Schneider set up and manned our booth at the Great Swamp Conservancy Fall Migration Festival.  Club membership forms and information about our club were presented.  Saturday, Sept. 28th, Jim Lawler, Gene Carey  and Tom Schneider will be setting up and manning our booth at the Annual Sportsman’s Day at the Altmar Hatchery.
Our Club has agreed to participate in the Salmon and Trout in the Classroom being set up at the Camden Central School along with Trout Unlimited State and local groups.  This is a program that is set up following the National Trout in the Classroom guidelines.  Paul Miller is our leader in this effort.
We are planning to meet at our hatchery on Saturday, October 5th, to set up the incubator and get the hatchery prepared for operation.
Jim Lawler will keep in touch with the Adirondack Hatchery and let us know when they plan to strip eggs in early November.  They could use some volunteers to  help and it would be a great opportunity for some of our members to learn more about that operation.
Our next Board meeting will be Thursday, October 24th, at 7 PM at the Camden Rod and Gun Club.
Respectfully submitted,
Arley Morey,  Club Secretary:-)

56% of the Chinook salmon harvested in New York waters of Lake Ontario were wild

Jun 11, 2013   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Salmon River Regulations  //  Comments Off on 56% of the Chinook salmon harvested in New York waters of Lake Ontario were wild

In speaking with Fran verdoliva about getting permits for Spey Nation, we had a very interesting discussion about wild fish in the Salmon. Specifically the results of the fin clipping survey for Kings. It opened my eyes and prompted me to want to learn more. Check out the results of all the fish surveys for Lake Ontario this year.

Chinook Salmon Marking Projects

In 2008, NYSDEC purchased an automated fish marking trailer (AutoFish) which is capable of adipose clipping and/or applying coded wire tags (CWTs) to salmon and trout at high speed and accuracy. To determine the proportions of wild and hatchery Chinook salmon in Lake Ontario, all Chinook salmon stocked by New York and Ontario from 2008-2011 were marked with an adipose fin clip. In 2012, preliminary results indicated that 56% of the Chinook salmon harvested in New York waters of Lake Ontario were wild. The proportion of wild Chinook salmon observed in most New York tributaries varied by fish age but was generally low (i.e., 5-20%), except in the Salmon River, where approximately 70% of angler-caught Chinook salmon were wild.

To determine the degree of homing and straying to the NYSDEC Salmon River Hatchery (SRH), all Chinook Salmon stocked at the Salmon River received adipose fin clips and CWTs from 2008-2010. Straying of fish from other sites to the SRH from 2009-2012 has varied with year class and age, but has been generally low with straying rates of 6-12%.

April Fish Creek Newsletter

May 22, 2013   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Like Minded Mofos  //  Comments Off on April Fish Creek Newsletter
April 2013 News:
Vermont Atlantic Salmon We have a special agreement with the folks who run the Vermont Fish Hatchery on Grande Island, Vermont, to take any Atlantic salmon that they have left after they reach their state’s yearly stocking quota. This year we were given about 15,000 Atlantics. We were required to have the virology tests done to assure our DEC that the fish are free of any known virus like VHS; and, to get them from the Vermont hatchery by April 5th. After receiving the laboratory test results, Jim Lawler and Larry Chismark rented a truck, borrowed transport tanks from the Rome Hatchery and went to Vermont and brought the fish back for stocking in our West Branch of Fish Creek on April 5th. A large turnout of Club members and friends met the stocking truck and we stocked the fish at several locations on the West Branch of Fish Creek and the Mad River above our hatchery at McConnelsville. The fish measured about 1.5 inches in length at stocking time, but by fall should be about 5 – 6 inches long. This is a bonus for our stocking program as we are also raising another batch of Atlantics in our own hatchery at the McConnellsville dam for release later this year.
Sabago Strain Atlantic Salmon – Paul Miller ordered 45,000 eggs from the hatchery in Maine which collects eggs from the spawning Atlantics in the inlet to Sabago Lake in Maine, then holds them in the hatchery egg rearing facility until they show signs of eyes in the eggs. Paul was notified when the eyed eggs were ready for transfer to our hatchery. This year it was my privilege to go after our eggs on February 14th. After arriving at the hatchery at 7 AM, I was given a brief tour of the hatchery while workers prepared the eggs in foam trays covered with damp cheese cloths and ice, then put in a larger foam box for safe transport. I was on my way home around 8 AM, so I called Jim Lawler and Paul to let them know that I planned to arrive at our hatchery around 4 PM. We met at the hatchery and checked the egg temperatures vs. our water temperatures in our tanks, then transferred the eggs to our hatching baskets, which float in our tanks. All went as planned. Since then, each day, a Club member goes to the hatchery to clean the tanks, inspect the eggs, remove any dead and record numbers removed, check water flows through the tanks and water temperatures and record all in our log book. Our eggs are now hatched out and swimming around with their egg-sacks still attached, supplying nutrients for their survival. Soon the fish will be fed with special food, which we buy for them and we will see them grow and get stronger. These fish will be sample tested when they get large enough, and provided the test results are ok, will be ready for stocking later this year.

Apr 3, 2013   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes  //  Comments Off on
Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club
March Monthly Meeting
March 28, 2013
· Testing of Atlantic salmon from Ed Weed Fish Cultural Facility (Vermont)
Kennebec River Biosciences (testing lab) received approval from NYSDEC to test these fish using a two week virology test only. The test results were received March 28 and all four viruses tested for were negative.
· Club picnic.
The club decided last month that a picnic, open to the public, would be a good way to showcase our efforts and successes to local residents. Several locations were mentioned, Forest Park among them. Member Paul Wenham, President of the Friends of Forest Park, has reserved the Woods Pavilion in Forest Park for Saturday May 18. More details to follow.
§ Fish from Kevin Kelsey
Arrangements have been made to pick up the fish from Kevin Kelsey at the Ed Weed Fish Cultural Facility in Vermont. Jim Lawler and Larry Chismark will rent a 24 ft. stake rack truck from Ryder Truck Rental and pick up two oxygen cylinders with regulators from Haun Welding. The Rome Hatchery has offered us the use of two of their fish transport tanks and they will load them for us.
The plan is to drive up Friday and stay overnight at the hatchery. Saturday morning the fish will be loaded and brought back for stocking that afternoon. Due to the deep snow still on the Tug Hill, locations near Camden were selected.
· Trestle Road at the fishing access parking lot (W. Branch Fish Creek)
· Mechanic Street (V) Camden behind DPW (W. Branch Fish Creek)
· Quarry Road, left off River Road north of Camden (Mad River)
All these sites are very close to the creek, not much snow, good parking for truck.
§ Stocking will be Saturday afternoon April 6. Approximate arrival of stocking truck from Vermont is 2:00 PM at the Trestle Road site.
§ Herb Phillippson’s & Mohawk Valley TU – Sat. April 13 at the Herb Phillipson’s Store in New Hartford Shopping Center. Volunteers to man the club display and answer questions are Lloyd Northrup, Tom Schneider, Mike Mercoldie, Ted Collins, Paul Miller, and Jim Lawler.
§ Oneida Lake Association meeting is Wednesday May 1. Tony Buffa has requested that someone from the club give a 7 min. talk about the club history, its successes and failures.
§ Next Meeting April 25
Among the membership renewal forms was a note from Mohawk Valley TU member Bill Pfeiffer that his wife passed away recently. Bill has been an active and well liked member of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club and our thoughts are with him. A sympathy card was sent on behalf of the club.

NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report 2011

Aug 31, 2012   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Environmental Stuff  //  Comments Off on NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report 2011

Excerpts from the NYSDEC Lake Ontario Annual Report 2011

    • The release rate for steelhead was 91% for both the Salmon River and all tributaries combined.
  • The long-term decline in Salmon River steelhead since the 1984 census appears to be reversing, at least in the short-term
  • Sixty-three percent of the anglers surveyed on the Salmon River were non-New York State residents, while 55% of the anglers on all “highuse” tributaries (including Salmon River) were non-NYS residents (Table 7). By contrast, nonresidents comprised only 33% and 26% of the anglers surveyed on “medium use” and “low use” tributaries, respectively.

Check out Section 11, some interesting reading for sure

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