Volunteers Answer the Call to Prepare Minnow Broodstock

Hatchery biologist, Nick, and volunteer, Debbie, meticulously pick out stickleback minnows from fathead minnows. Photo by Orey Eckes/USFWS.


We were able to finish up harvest of the Fathead Minnow pond in December. We brought in over 2.6 million minnows! Many of these went into overwintering ponds to sustain broodstock and future mussel host fish over the winter. We also brought some inside to be used for feeding other fish on station. Not all of these minnows are destined to be a meal for a bigger fish, however. Using a grader, which separates bigger fish from smaller ones, we set aside tens of thousands of the biggest minnows we had. These lucky ones will go back out to the pond in the spring, their only goal being to produce millions more for next year. Unfortunately, there are some unwanted friends lurking within. Brook Sticklebacks frequently infiltrate the minnow pond and reproduce themselves. They are not as desirable a meal for fish as Fatheads, and the reason why is hidden in their name. This is where the volunteers come in. With their help, we are able to go through every minnow that will go back into the minnow pond and remove the sticklebacks. Hopefully that action combined with a good winterkill in the pond will result in a better food source for 2020. We couldn’t do it without the help of our volunteers! By Nick Bloomfield
Genoa National Fish Hatchery’s mission is to recover, restore, maintain and enhance fish and aquatic resources on a basin-wide and national level by producing over 35 aquatic species of varying life stages, participating in active conservation efforts with our partners, and becoming a positive force in the community by educating future generations on the benefits of conservation stewardship.
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