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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.

Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Meeting Jan 28.

Jan 27, 2016   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Mojo  //  Comments Off on Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Meeting Jan 28.

The next meeting of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club is Thursday Jan. 28 @ 7:00 at the Camden Rod & Gun Club.


We will have two guest speakers – ESF Grad students Justin DiRado and Chris Powers – who will give a presentation of their two year NY Sea Grant project to study Atlantic Salmon Restoration in Great Lakes Tributaries.  The objectives of the study included: Evaluate strain growth, survival and movement in Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake tributaries, determine if adults are returning to Fish Creek, and analyze otolith microchemistry.


Their presentation will include an overview of the project, fieldwork and lab experiments conducted, a review of their findings, and preliminary recommendations for rearing Atlantic salmon.

Club members helped with the stocking and electrofishing, had a great time, and learned a lot in the process.  This will be very informative and should help us do a better job raising and stocking our fish.

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.

Minutes of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club August 28th

Sep 24, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes  //  Comments Off on Minutes of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club August 28th


Aug 28,  2014

  • Jim opened the meeting and the minutes were   read
  • Paul talked about Justin and Chris electro-shocking   Point Rock Creek.  One Atlantic was found that was 8 inches long.    They kept the fish for testing.
  • Paul also mentioned that Gary Bartell reported catching   a 6  inch Atlantic in Point Rock Creek.
  • Discussion then centered on stocking the remaining fish   left at Morrisville.  There are about 5,000 salmon which Justin and Chris   are going to stock in Nine Mile creek if  they get permission from DEC.    Half to the remaining 2000 fish will be stocked on September 20   according to the bio mass in Roaring Brook.  The rest can be stocked by   the club.  
  • Jim then talked about the  Sportsmen Days at   Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery.  Jim and Gene will attend on Saturday,   Sept 27  and Paul and Paul will attend on Sunday September   28.
  • Jim talked about the OLA picnic.  It was not   heavily attended.
  • Tom contacted Carpenters Brook and they will  take   the large pipe and made plans to take it to the hatchery on Thursday, Sept 4.   

Note: Next meeting  is Thursday, September 25.

For More Information click to the Club’s Website.


May Minutes of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club

May 27, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes  //  Comments Off on May Minutes of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club



  • Jim Lawler brought the club to order.
  • There was no secretary’s report as the Secretary was absent.
  • There was no treasurer’s report as the Treasurer was absent.
  • The club had some new members at the meeting, welcome aboard!  It is great to see new faces.
  • Jim brought news of Arlie’s broken hip.  Everyone in the club hopes for a speedy and complete recovery.
  • Gary Bartell reported catching Atlantic salmon in Point Rock.  They were about 6 inches.  The club placed no salmon in the East branch system last year so they are likely from a stocking made two years ago.
  • Students, Jason and Christ from ESF, talked about their plans for electro-shocking.   If any one is interested to watch or participate, they plan to meet club members on Friday, May 30 in Taberg at 8:30 AM in the parking lot near the ball field.
  • Tom fixed the feeder and put it in place on tank #2.  It was suggested that it might need to be moved on account of the way the water swills in an eddy making it difficult for the fish in the lower part of the tank  feed.  Tom will remove the barrier in the lower part of the old tank.  The barrier was intended to control the flow of water when trays were being used but the fish congregate between it and the screen for some reason.
  • Tom said that all of the feed at the hatchery was used up.  Chris said he could bring some fish feed.
  • Ted will be out of town starting June 5 and needs some one to take his place tending to the fish.
  • Jim then talked about the Hall of Fame Dinner.  Paul Miller, Tom Lenweaver and Fran Verdoliva were inducted.
  • Jim then talked about the Oneida Lake Association meeting.  The club sold a number of raffle tickets there like we do every year we go.
  • The actual number of fish we stocked from Vermont on May 10 numbered 24,000 rather than what was estimated (16,000).  We had 20 people helping stock the fish in 4 different sites in and around the hamlets of Taberg and Blossvale.  Gene has updated the website with the latest.  To see photos of the stocking see
  • Jim mentioned Spey Nation seminar on June 21 and asked who would be attending.  Jim’s canopy was a big hit last year during the afternoon when it rained.  We need to contact Jim.
  • The raffle tickets were drawn and the winners recorded.  Winners will be contacted by telephone.
  • Next meeting is June 26, 2014.
Raffle drawing was done at this meeting and winners were notified by phone.  Hopefully, you received a call if you bought tickets, but if not, better luck next year.  If you bought raffle tickets, thanks, that money supports our efforts to re-establish a self-supporting population of Atlantic salmon in Fish Creek and Oneida Lake.
Any members planning to help out with the Spey Nation event should contact Jim Lawler to help coordinate our efforts to help out.  Check out the website .  The format has changed this year with movies added on Friday night and access to the Douglaston section below Pulaski for Sunday.
Our hatchery Atlantics are doing nicely and we expect they will be ready to be stocked sometime shortly after the Spey Nation weekend.  Once again we will be asking for help in stocking the 40,000 or so Atlantics.  This will bring the total for this year to about 65,000.
We have reports this year of several Atlantics from past years stockings being caught in Oneida Lake and lower Fish Creek, proving that our efforts are beginning to pay off.  Thanks to all those who have helped by lending a hand when asked and all who purchased raffle tickets and especially our 2 large supporters; Harden Furniture and Spey Nation.

January Meeting of the FCASC

Jan 21, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Mojo  //  Comments Off on January Meeting of the FCASC
January 23, 2014 Meeting:
Check out the picture of our fish egg incubator above; it is set up and ready for this year’s eggs.  Our meeting this month will start at 6:30 PM at the Harden Pump House in order to introduce our members to the location and setup of our fish egg incubator..  Jim Lawler and I will be there to start the meeting and demonstrate how the incubator works.  Q & A session will be held there, then we will go to the Camden Rod & Gun Club for the continuation of the meeting.
This Year’s Eggs:
Eggs are not ready yet, but Jim :Lawler is planning to make the trip to Maine this year to pick up the eggs as soon as we are notified that they are ready, Latest communication was that they should be ready between the 1st and 15th of February.  When Jim returns with the eggs, they will be divided between the 7 trays so that each tray has about the same number of eggs.  Then the daily duty-visits will begin, to check the incubator and remove any failed eggs.
Hatchery Duty:
This would be a good time to volunteer for hatchery duty, if you can spare some time once a week to help out.  We need help, so any time you can arrange would be greatly appreciated.

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:-)

27 inch Atlantic Nabbed in Oneida Lake…and other Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club News

Aug 21, 2013   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Mojo  //  Comments Off on 27 inch Atlantic Nabbed in Oneida Lake…and other Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club News
Reminder: August Meeting is this Thursday, August 22nd, 7 PM at the Camden Rod & Gun Clubhouse.
This has been a very successful year for our club:
  • The Vermont Hatchery gave us 15,000 Atlantic fry, which we stocked into the East Branch of Fish Creek in April;
  • We raised and stocked about 30,000 more Atlantic fry into the East Branch of Fish Creek in June;
  • We participated in Spey Nation and received a substantial amount of money for continuing efforts to improve our capabilities;
  • We have requested assistance from Syracuse University ESF to initiate a study of survival success of our stocked fish;
  • We are continuing contact with Oneida Lake Association and Cornel Research facilities on Oneida Lake; and,
  • We continue efforts to get our message out by setting up our display at several sport shows.
When we received the Atlantic fry from Vermont in April, we discovered that the eggs could be hatched early by warming the incubator water temperature during the winter when water temperature is normally about 32 degrees.  This would be a desirable improvement for our hatchery if it can be accomplished, so it is on our to do list for this fall.
Paul Miller, would like to hear from anyone who has paid this year’s membership, but has not received their membership card, in case he has missed anyone.
Upcoming events;
  • Beaver Lake Open House, First Saturday in September;
  • Fall Migration (Great Swamp), October.
The link below is to an article from the Outdoors Section of  written by Dave Figura.  Dave was at the Oneida Lake Association BBQ Monday  night.  Jerry Lougnot caught the 27” Atlantic Salmon and was giving the Fish  Creek Atlantic Salmon Club kudos for their salmon restoration work.  Dave  followed up with the story and asked for more input.
The picture shows what a healthy fish this is.

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.

Another local company thinks we’re doing something good

May 1, 2013   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club Minutes, Like Minded Mofos, Raffle Prizes  //  Comments Off on Another local company thinks we’re doing something good

About a mile from the Pineville Bridge sits the Mid-River Motel & Campground. It has 16 rooms that sleep 3, 4 and 6 people and five park models that will sleep up to 6. 

For Spey Nation 2013, they have offered up $20.00 per person based on double occupancy. Park models at $30.00 per person based on 3.   They also have five campsites available.

The Mid-River Motel and Campground is also donating

A room for two nights that sleeps 4

during Salmon Season to Spey Nation to Raffle Off.

Mid-River Motel & Campground.


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