Doug helping and holding a fish up next to kids at our Kids Fishing events at Genoa. Photo: USFWS.











Hatchery Swan Song
As most of you know, my tenure at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery and the Fish and Wildlife Service for that matter is swiftly coming to an end. I plan on retiring the end of August to pursue other passions such as sleeping in until 7 a.m., nurturing some grandchildren (who thankfully live close enough to nurture), and paying some much due love and attention to my bride of 40+ years, who has been faithfully supporting me throughout my working years. I would be reticent to forget to acknowledge all the people along the way that have supported me and walked with me on our shared mission of aquatic conservation over the 39+ years of the journey.

I have been blessed to have been supported by and worked with some of the most creative, intelligent, thoughtful, and dedicated people through this trip, which included family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, mentors, and partners. It even included people that just had a passion to try to make the world a little better by volunteering to help save it, one conservation task at a time. It includes my supervisors both immediate and regionally that pushed me to do something lasting and meaningful and to think outside the norms in order to “make a difference”. A shared love of the resource and its importance to conserve it is the glue that holds us together, but it is the people and their diverse talents, personalities, and interests that I am going to cherish the most. I also must acknowledge the people we have met and have come to love along the way in our 7 different locations throughout the journey. The church congregations, pastor/shepherds, and church families and “adopted parents and grandparents” that we have leaned on for support and friendship while we were miles away from our own families have been a literal godsend. Thanks again to all of you. I also must acknowledge the love and sacrifices of my wife and 5 children along the way. There have been times when moving away from our support groups was difficult, and many times I was not as present as I should have been. I apologize now and hope to make up for it.
In closing I would just like to say it has been a wonderful ride. Keep using the gifts that God has given you, whether they may be the working of your hands and minds to further conservation, or your service and hospitality to others. Thank you from the bottom of a grateful heart. Fare well and God bless.
By: Doug Aloisi

Summer Dragonflies at GNFH












The ponds and wetland areas at Genoa NFH are home to many aquatic insects, including the aquatic larval stage of dragonflies and damselflies. After hatching from eggs laid in the water or on emergent vegetation in shallow waters, the fully aquatic nymphs feed and grow for one or more years before they are ready to emerge as the terrestrial, flying adults we are all familiar with. The Wisconsin Aquatic Terrestrial Inventory (WiATRI), a program within the Wisconsin DNR that collects information from statewide surveys, lists 53 dragonflies and 31 damselflies species observed in Vernon County, and many of the more common species can be seen flying around the Hatchery during the summer. Some of the earliest fliers are Common Green Darners, which can be observed beginning in midApril – June, July and August are prime flight times for many species, such as the Common Baskettail, Prince Baskettail, and Widow Skimmer pictured here. Some species, such as the Autumn Meadowhawk, can be observed through October. The Hatchery is a great place to view dragonflies in flight all summer- the grounds are always open to the public, and the pond roads are a great place to walk and observe dragonflies and damselflies, birds, and other wildlife in a quiet, low traffic environment. By: Beth Glidewell


Each fall, hatchery biologists working with U.S. Park Service staff, MN DNR mussel biologists and staff from other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices visit the St. Croix as many as 15 times looking for the federally endangered Winged Mapleleaf that thrive in the clean, clear water. Females holding mussel larvae are brought back to Genoa National Fish Hatchery, the larvae (glochidia) are allowed to attach to channel catfish and then the female mussels are returned to the St. Croix River. In the wild the larval mussels remain attached to the catfish until late spring when the water begins. In late May 2023 juvenile Winged Mapleleaf began to drop off at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center after they’d overwintered on channel catfish in their ponds. Some juveniles went into laboratory culture, while others were stocked into the Chippewa River. Around 3,000 0.3 mm juveniles were stocked in two events at a site where adult Winged Mapleleaf were reintroduced in 2016, and Higgins Eye were stocked in 2017. A quantitative survey of the site in 2021 showed that both species have survived and grown well alongside a large population of federally endangered Sheepnose. We hope that even a few of these Winged Mapleleaf juveniles will survive to adulthood and contribute to the genetic diversity of this reintroduced population.
By Megan Bradley

Photo: Biologists stock WML juveniles on the Chippewa River into a tube to allow them to settle in the mussel bed. Photo credit: USFWS.

Fathead Minnow Production at Genoa National Fish Hatchery

Fathead minnow fingerlings are used throughout the year as a forage base to feed hatchery captive broodstock as well as advanced growth largemouth, smallmouth, and walleye. These species feed on zooplankton and invertebrates as their primary food source when they are first stocked into hatchery ponds, as these fish grow, they switch to larger forage items, hence hatchery fathead minnows are stocked into ponds as their secondary food source. Prior to 2003, the bulk of fathead minnows used on station were purchased from private bait dealers in the area. This method was discontinued due to the risk of transmitting many unknown diseases from wild populations of fish to hatchery fish and to eliminate the risk of nuisance species such as brook stickleback. A fathead minnow brood line was developed at Genoa to prevent disease transfer and to reduce costs associated with the purchase of the wild baitfish.
In early spring approximately 50 gallons of broodstock fathead minnows are stocked into a 34-acre pond. During the summer these fish will spawn multiple times producing millions of new young of year fathead minnows. By mid-July, fathead minnows can be trapped using specially constructed minnow traps baited with dog food. This method results in variable catches of minnows per day using cloverleaf traps. The traps are available in a variety of mesh sizes to target different sizes of minnows. Hatchery staff irregularly set cloverleaf minnow traps around the pond by boat. Two people are required during the collection, a boat driver and another situated on the bow that can grab the float of each trap. The traps are emptied into an oxygenated 50-gallon tub filled with pond water in the center of the boat. After all the traps are collected and reset, the fathead minnows are transferred to a distribution truck and then to production ponds where minnows are measured by gallon and fed to production fish.
By: Orey Eckes

YCC student and staff getting ready to collect minnows in their boat. Photo: USFWS.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities at Genoa National Fish Hatchery!

• Lake Sturgeon tagging (August through Early September)

• Coaster Brook Trout tagging (September)

• Pond Harvest (September through October)

Call for more details! (608) 689-2605

Erica Rasmussen
Environmental Education Specialist Genoa National Fish Hatchery S5631 State Hwy 35 Genoa WI, 54632 608-689-2605

Cages Deployed

Over the years at the hatchery we’ve been working to improve how we manage ponds for mussel culture. Often the best conditions for growing fish don’t result in great algae and bacteria for growing juvenile mussels, so it takes lots of data collection and experimentation to find a balance between the two needs. This year we’re trying to culture our freshwater mussels in pond 10 right next to the mussel building. We placed our cages before the pond was filled. Our Youth Conservation Corps workers stocked the Largemouth Bass infested with Plain Pocketbook into the cages this week. The juvenile mussels will drop off into the sand in the bottom of the cages and hopefully grow and thrive. We added a tarp below this year’s cages to see if many of our juveniles are washing out of the cages due to fish movement or waves from storms. Any juveniles will be cultured to a large enough size to stock into Iowa to replace Plain Pocketbook killed in a spill. By: Megan Bradley

YCC workers place freshwater mussel infested Largemouth Bass into mussel culture cages at GNFH. Photo credit: Megan Bradley/USFWS.

Pond Production Season Kicks Off


Our pond production season is in full swing at the hatchery. Four ponds have been stocked with Walleye fry that will be ready for harvest in June. These ponds are treated with a steady diet of alfalfa meal to stimulate zooplankton production. Once the Walleye begin to transition to invertebrates, we’ll pull the plug and harvest the pond, usually about 35 days after stocking. Our Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Fathead Minnow and Smallmouth Bass brood stock have all been separated into their own ponds to do their thing. We have had a lot of success pulling Smallmouth Bass fry off their nest prior to them swimming up the last couple of years, so we decided to try something similar with Largemouth Bass this year. As it turned out, we were too late and there were bass fry swimming everywhere! However, the young Largemouth Bass fry school up very strongly the first few days after swimming up, so were able to seine about 50,000 up from one school of fish! We will try to raise these intensively for a short time before stocking to a pond. Next year, we will transition to a plan where we’ll have pond rearing space available for Largemouth Bass fry like how we do Smallmouth Bass currently. Hopefully we will see a boost in Largemouth Bass production similar to the boost we’ve seen in Smallmouth Bass production in recent years! By: Nick Bloomfield

Welcome Reghan



Reghan feeds Hines Emerald Dragonfly larvae. Photo credit: Megan Bradley/USFWS.

We’re excited to welcome a new Pathways student to the hatchery. Reghan Yourell joins
us from U.W. Eau Claire where she’s majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in
psychology and is on the Dean’s List. Reghan started at the hatchery in May and has
been working hard from day one, learning, caring for our fish, mussels and dragonflies,
and building things to help move forward our hatchery programs. Reghan finds that most
of her time is occupied with classes since she’s still a student, but she enjoys reading,
playing with her family dogs, spending time outdoors and traveling. We’re looking
forward to her teaching our staff more about how we can put together psychology and
the environment to improve our conservation mission and to seeing how she grows in her
conservation career. By: Megan Bradley

Wolf River Lake Sturgeon Spawning

As Walleye season and Rainbow trout stocking come to an end, Lake Sturgeon spawning season has begun. Our first trip is to the Wolf River located below the dam in Shawano, WI. This is where WI DNR staff and UWSP students collect adult Lake Sturgeon to checks tags, take lengths, and extract eggs and milt. Once the eggs and milt are collected the adult Lake Sturgeon are immediately returned to the Wolf River. Eggs are then fertilized and transported back to the Genoa National Fish Hatchery for rearing. The eggs will rear for approximately 7 days before hatching and 21 days after hatching they will start feeding. The juveniles are provided brine shrimp for the first four weeks followed by ground bloodworms and eventually whole bloodworms for the next 8 weeks until they are fed krill for the remainder of the season. Once the growing season (May-Sep.) is completed they are approximately 7 inches in length and are ready to be stocked. The Wolf River juveniles will be stocked in the Cumberland River and the Upper Portion of the Tennessee River through partnerships with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. While feeding the juveniles 3 times a day staff are also working on ongoing research projects such as the recently completed study: Growth and Survival of Lake Sturgeon Fed Traditional Diets vs. Commercial diets and Bioaccumulation of Contaminants of Emerging Concern within Traditionally and Commercially Fed Lake Sturgeon. By: Jadon Motquin