While winter settles in at Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) spring planning kicks into high gear. In many professions, the arrival of winter can bring about a slower pace but at the hatchery there is no time to slow down. Planning for the upcoming production cycle begins almost immediately after the previous fish go out the door. It is important for staff at Genoa NFH to prepare and plan to make sure all of the appropriate pieces are in place. This entails prepping culture buildings for incoming eggs, repairing nets for spawning activities, and compiling fish requests from tribal, federal, and state partners. Biologists at the hatchery send out fish request forms to all partners which compile their fish needs and report them back to the hatchery staff.
This allows the hatchery to determine pond space and rearing tanks needed to make sure these requests can be met. In the event that Genoa NFH does not raise the fish that partners sometimes need we can help coordinate partners with others to help find the fish they are after. The staff also attends various fish meetings where requests can be shared with one another. This process allows Genoa NFH to gain access to fish that are not normally raised on station.
Some good examples are the acquisition of Golden Shiners and Mudpuppies that are used for mussel propagation. All incoming or outgoing fish are passed through a rigorous series of fish health examinations to ensure that no possible pathogens are passed among stations and all partners are receiving certified healthy fish.
All this is going on during the time we are collecting and caring for eggs from our fall spawning species such as lake herring, brook and rainbow trout. These species hatch out in the winter months and will need special care and attention to ensure that they acclimate to commercial starter diets, and begin their cycle of life.
By Aaron Von Eschen