Fish biologist Henry Quinlan from the Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office holds a 24 inch Coaster Brook Trout captured during the 2018 gamete collection in Tobin Harbor on Isle Royale National Park. Photo: USFWS.In the Midwest region, Iron River National Fish Hatchery maintains a captive line of Isle Royale strain Coaster Brook Trout for stocking in Lake Superior waters in support of the Brook Trout rehabilitation plan. To maintain genetic diversity within the broodstock, new brood lines are periodically developed. Every three to five years biologists from the USFWS Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, and Iron River and Genoa National Fish Hatcheries travel to Isle Royale National Park to collect gametes from the self-sustaining Coaster Brook Trout population in Tobin Harbor.
The fertilized eggs are then transported from Isle Royale National Park to an isolation rearing facility at USFWS Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin. There they are incubated, and the newly hatched fish raised for 18 months during which time they undergo several fish health inspections by staff at the USFWS La Crosse Fish Health Laboratory in Onalaska, Wisconsin. If the brood class passes three fish health inspections and are confirmed healthy, they are transported to USFWS Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Iron River, Wisconsin where they are incorporated into the Coaster Brook Trout brood program to produce offspring for restoration stocking by USFWS and partner fishery agencies in Lake Superior. Recently eggs from brood stock from the 2017 and 2018 year classes were transferred from Iron River National Fish Hatchery back home to Genoa National Fish Hatchery to support Brook Trout rehabilitation in Lake Superior.
By: Orey Eckes, Henry Quinlan, Evan Boone, Brandon Keesler