Change in Kamloops stocking on ShoreKamloops rainbow trout bound for Lake Superior have been stocked in Amity Creek for the first time ever this spring.
By: Sam Cook, Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
Kamloops rainbow trout bound for Lake Superior have been stocked in Amity Creek for the first time ever this spring.
The Amity Creek stocking replaces the traditional stocking of the popular rainbows in the upper Lester River.
That stocking was curtailed because fisheries managers want to prevent the possible movement of VHS, a fish virus, to inland waters.
The Kamloops rainbows were raised at the French River Hatchery, which uses Lake Superior water, and VHS was discovered in Lake Superior in recent months.
“We aren’t 100 percent confident that fish from the French River Hatchery haven’t been exposed to VHS,” said Don Schreiner, Department of Natural Resources Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor at French River.
Tests on the fish have so far been negative, but fisheries managers are taking every precaution.
On Amity Creek, a tributary of the Lester River, the trout were not stocked above the stream’s barrier falls. That will prevent them from ascending the stream to inland waters. Fisheries officials hope the trout will imprint in Amity Creek and the Lester River before migrating down to Lake Superior. If they do imprint, they’ll return about four years later as adults for anglers to catch.
A total of 28,000 Kamloops rainbows were stocked in Amity Creek. About 92,500 Kamloops rainbows have traditionally been stocked at the Lester River, the French River and the McQuade Small Craft Harbor annually.
Another 10,000 Kamloops rainbows already have been stocked this spring at the French River, Schreiner said. Another 25,000 will be stocked at the French in mid-July, along with 25,000 at McQuade Small Craft Harbor.
The DNR also is grappling with the matter of stocking steelhead fry in light of VHS. Steelhead are rainbow trout originally stocked in Lake Superior in 1895 that reproduce mostly on their own. But the DNR does stock some steelhead fry to bolster the population.
Those fry have been stocked above upstream barriers (major waterfalls) on North Shore streams, but that technically puts the fish in inland waters, where they could move farther inland. To prevent that, those steelhead fry will be stocked just below barriers on several streams.