SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2023
8:30 AM—12:00 PM
Genoa National Fish Hatchery
Join staff from the 3 La Crosse area U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Offices and our Friends Group, the Friends of the Upper Mississippi for a day of fishing fun!
This popular annual event is for children 5-12 years old who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The event begins with hands-on learning sessions about fishing techniques and conservation, then children are allowed to fish in a stocked hatchery pond.
Poles & Bait will be supplied, with no outside bait allowed due to biosecurity concerns.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Or call: 608-689-2605
Last year, we had a new request for Northern Pike eggs from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Genoa National Fish Hatchery regularly collected these eggs in the past, but it had been several years. Some of us had never taken part in spawning Northern Pike. This year, we got the opportunity to continue to hone our craft, as we received another request from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Northern Pike on the Mississippi River in our neighborhood typically start spawning at the end of March or early April. Using information gleaned from last year’s work, we were able to narrow down our search for spawning sites and set our fyke nets in areas that were productive for us last year. Conditions were a bit different this year with lower water, but the fish were still there. Some of our net sites barely had a foot of water, but the fish didn’t seem to mind! The water in these shallow areas was up to 5 degrees warmer than main channel temperatures, drawing several species looking for a respite from the cold winter. We were able to get all the eggs we needed in two nights of net sets. Staff from IDNR’s Decorah State Fish Hatchery came over to pick up eggs, where they will be hatched out and stocked in hatchery ponds. They will grow for a brief stint in the ponds before being released into Iowa’s interior rivers.
By: Nick Bloomfield
Extracting eggs from a fish and the eggs are going into the pan. Photo: USFWS.
Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly eggs that were received in November from research partners at Univ. of South Dakota are still happily chilling in their winter homes. These eggs are maintained at a steady 3-4°C until a planned warming schedule that will begin in April. During the warming time, temperatures are stepped up a few degrees per week and egg cups are checked daily for new hatches. New hatches are then placed in individual culture cups and a routine feeding schedule of zooplankton prey begins.
Hine’s Emerald eggs over wintering in a culture cup. Photo: Beth Glidewell/USFWS.
New juvenile culture is a very hands-on, time intensive stage of the culture cycle, so while we’re waiting for the spring hatch to begin, supplies are being gathered and prepared. One of the steps that slowed down the process last season was filtering and concentrating zooplankton prey out of pond water that is pumped through the mussel building raceways. Each culture cup is fed a few milliliters of this concentrated food 2-3 times per week, so to speed up this step, additional sieves were assembled to double the filtering capacity. Culture cups have also been gathered, pre-written labels are being prepared, pipettes and other bench-top supplies have been collected… now fingers crossed that the eggs remain stable for a few more weeks, then a successful hatch can begin!
By: Beth Glidewell
Hine’s Emerald eggs over wintering in a culture cup. Photo: Beth Glidewell/USFWS
While winter and early spring aren’t normally a hotbed of mussel activity it’s an important season for preparing for the coming year. We start by reviewing what was successful last year before deciding what our priorities are for the next. Some of this work includes assessing the status of cages, preparing dive gear for another season and coordinating plans with our partners. We’ve had discussions with our various State and Federal partners, as well as the staff at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, about plans for the coming season. If you’ve been following the mussel program for a while you know that we meet with the rest of the Mussel Conservation Team in March. We had a great meeting this week with colleagues from across the upper Mississippi River basin. We talked about success from last year and what we hope we can get to this year. We’re still providing extensive care for six species of host fish, brooding freshwater mussel adults, and several thousand sub-adult mussels that are overwintering in the mussel building. By: Megan Bradley
A pair of PowerPoint slides from the GNFH presentation for the MCT meeting. Photo: USFWS
Al and Doug holding an award in their hands and Vickie and Doug hold an award. Photo: USFWS.
Two of our very special Friends were honored at our recent Volunteer and Friends Appreciation Banquet on Friday night. These two award winners provide such energy, enthusiasm and dedication to support the Fish and Wildlife Service and the hatchery and its Conservation and Environmental Education Goals. Our first recipient, Al Brinkman has been a dedicated Friend and Volunteer. He spends many hours helping us tag 1,000’s of lake sturgeon, freshwater mussels and whatever task that needs a helping hand.
He has also served as a board member and officer in our Friends Group, serving a vital role as Vice President and Co-President for the group. Al has been a Friends Group member for over a decade and is an active volunteer in the larger community of La Crosse, Wisconsin. For his continued service as a Volunteer and Valued Friend Al earns the hatchery’s Conservation Steward Award of 2022.
Vickie Walley has been an active and productive supporter of the hatchery’s conservation mission over the years by running the Friends Group Bookstore and Gift Shop since 2018. Her fantastic energy and organizational skills assisted in the acquiring of all the initial inventories, setting up computerized credit card access and inventory controls, and re-stocking necessary items when needed. She also did the accounting for the store with reports to the Friends Group quarterly. Vickie also set the staffing schedule to ensure hours were covered during opening Visitor Center hours during peak times of tourism season. Her and her husband Ron make a great team, assisting in many youth oriented programs to cultivate the next generation of conservation stewards in the La Crosse area. They do this by supporting youth outdoor events such as Youth Outdoor Fest and our Kids Fishing Days. Vickie is stepping down this year after 5 years of service and we are awarding her with the hatchery’s Meritorious Service Award for 2022. Thanks Vickie and Al! We truly can’t accomplish our Conservation Mission without your help!
By: Doug Aloisi
I would like to express my sincere thanks for your assistance in putting together a fantastic 2003 Kids Ice Fishing Day at the hatchery February 4th! There was 529 attendees at the event, with 39 volunteers and staff assisting, giving us a total of 568 people on or around the ice!
Needless to say, it could not have happened with all our your participation and efforts. Thank you so much for your continued help in reaching out to our community to spread the message that outdoor activities involving our fish and wildlife resources are of great value, multi-generational, and deserve to be passed on for future generations to enjoy and protect. Thank you for your foresight to be the current generation of conservation stewards, and your help in growing the next one.
All the best,
Genoa National Fish Hatchery
We could use support from about 10 people to prep the mussel cages on Wednesday, February 15 @ 9:00am until about 2pm. Lunch will be provided.
We could use support from about 15 people to repair mussel cages on Thursday, February 23 @ 8:00am – 3pm. Lunch will be provided.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Any help is greatly appreciated! If you could please RSVP to phone or email so I can have a number for food.
Thank you so much for your support!
We are very excited to be back on the ice for our Kids Ice Fishing Day event coming up on Saturday, February 4, 2023 from 8:30am – 12:00pm! We will start the day with a safety lesson and then kids will get the opportunity to ice fish for rainbow trout on Pond 11. A light lunch will also be provided. New this year, participants can try their hand at snowshoeing! Volunteers will be onsite to talk to folks about local winter recreational opportunities and we will have snowshoes for folks to try out. As always, safety comes first. This event is weather and ice condition dependent, so please follow us on Facebook for updates! The snowshoes are also available to visitors to use when the Interpretive Center is open. If you are interested in snowshoeing our trails, please check them out at the front desk. While out snowshoeing, be sure to keep an eye out for animal tracks and try to identify what animals are living in our riparian wetlands and floodplain forest! By: Erica Rasmussen
Eyed Coaster Brook Trout eggs in a strainer. Photo: USFWS.
The newest additions to Genoa National Fish Hatchery arrived on station on January 17th. About 70,000 fertilized Coaster Brook Trout eggs were sent from our sister hatchery at Iron River National Fish Hatchery from captive broodstock that were started in our quarantine building at Genoa in 2017 and 2018. After a quick disinfection bath, the eggs were placed in hatching jars to continue their development. We expect that hatching will begin within the next couple of weeks. From there, we will raise these fish until spring of 2024, hopefully in excess of 10 inches by that time. Most of these fish will be stocked for the Coaster Brook Trout restoration program in Grand Portage Band of Chippewa waters of Lake Superior and its nearby tributaries. Hopefully these fish will be part of the resurgence of this once plentiful, unique strain of Brook Trout in Lake Superior waters. The remainder will go to interior lakes on Red Lake Nation lands to become part of a tremendous recreational trout fishery. By: Nick Bloomfield
transferring eggs into an incubation jar. Photo: USFWS.
At the end of last year’s growing season, juvenile Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly larvae that had been cultured at the Hatchery all season were packed up and transported to an overwintering facility at the University of South Dakota. At the same time, a new cohort of dragonflies -still in the egg stage- were delivered to the Hatchery from USD.
Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly eggs overwintering at stable temperatures in an environmental chamber. The temperature is tracked by a data logger kept in a similar cup as the eggs, and a twice-daily quick check is made with the thermometer visible in the photo. Photo: USFWS.
Eggs are collected by research partners (USD and others) in the mid to late summer, when females are carrying fertilized eggs and are ovipositing- laying their eggs- in the marshy areas of spring-fed wetlands, wet meadows and fen habitats that this species prefers. The eggs are kept in individual clutches, allowed to harden, counted, and as the fall progresses into winter, chilled from warm summer temperatures to cold winter holding temperatures, approx. 3-4 °C. Over the winter, the groups of eggs are divided, packaged for transport, and delivered to the partner agencies -including Genoa NFH- that continue to over winter the eggs and then culture new juveniles in the spring. The eggs are transported in coolers with cool/cold packs to keep them from warming up and are quickly transferred to a stable temperature environmental chamber at the Hatchery. They’ll be kept at a stable 3-4 °C through the winter, then slowly warmed a few degrees per week in late March and April.
Genoa NFH has been working with Hine’s Emeralds since 2013, and in 2016 eggs were housed and the resulting new larvae reared on station each year. These previous cohorts of eggs have all been collected from females in a (relatively) large breeding population in Northern Wisconsin, but this new cohort consists of eggs collected from females in a smaller and more critically endangered population in Illinois along the Des Plaines River. The population augmentation or reintroduction of individuals that (hopefully!) will result from these hatchery reared animals is a key part of the recovery of Hine’s Emeralds, especially in the critical Des Plaines River population.
By: Beth Glidewell
A close up view of dragonfly eggs overwintering. Photo: USFWS.