34,000 New Residents in Lake George
For the ninth year in a row LGFA Vice President Barry Leeds led the group of volunteers who donated their time and boats to the effort. Prior to receiving help from the LGFA the DEC off-loaded the fish only at the DEC dock in Bolton Landing and at the Hague Town Dock in the northern basin.
Initially Leeds and his cohorts felt the fingerlings had a better chance of survival in deep water. This year, with DEC approval, the group implemented a new strategy. “In the Bolton area we are stocking them near the major inlets to the lake…Finkle Brook, Indian Brook, Northwest Bay Brook and Huddle Brook,” Leeds said. Volunteers also stocked fish along the east and west shore in the Narrows.
At 10 am on Monday, May 20 two huge trucks, each equipped with six 230-gallon tanks, arrived from the Adirondack Hatchery in Lake Clear laden with the Little Clear strain of Atlantic Landlocked Salmon. DEC employee Ken Klubek said, “They come about eight to the pound” as he hauled a net full of thrashing fish to Leeds’ boat. “Each tank has about 160 pounds of fish.”
DEC Biologist Jim Pinheiro said the handling of the fish (in the nets) causes the most stress to the juveniles. “But, a low number die from the stress,” he said. “Most fingerlings die from predation by other larger fish.”
Pinheiro said the survival rate is low but it is worth the effort. “Salmon is a good fighting fish for the sportsmen and it is a good eating fish, too,” he said. “They are fast growing and they become trophy-sized in two to three years.”
Pinheiro said the DEC Adirondack Hatchery supplies the Warren County Hatchery with 3,000 fingerlings which they nurture until the fall. “They clip the fins on those fish before they are released so that they can be tracked,” he said.
Pinheiro said the salmon are ideal for stocking in Lake George. “One to 1.25 is the ratio per acre so that is how we arrive at the number of fish we put into Lake George,” he said. According to Pinheiro, if DEC were to stock the lake with brown trout then it would require six to eight fish per acre. “We would deplete the entire Region 5 supply of brown trout if we were to stock Lake George with browns,” he said.
Pinheiro said Lake George’s size and excellent water quality make it unique and therefore a good candidate for salmon stocking. “For example, Lake Lauderdale is a nice lake but it has water quality issues which would hinder the survival rate of salmon or trout fingerlings,” he said. “Lake George, on the other hand, is perfect for these fish.”
“They’re all swimming away,” Leeds yelled from his boat as he returned to the DEC dock for another load of fish. “It’s going really well this year.”