Winooski River Atlantic Salmon

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Strong spawning runs of landlocked Atlantic salmon from Lake Champlain returned to the Winooski River during the 2014 run. Atlantic salmon runs are monitored annually at the Winooski River fish lift, the main feature of a trap and truck fish passage project built into the Winooski One hydroelectric facility above the Salmon Hole in Winooski. The last few years have seen the highest numbers of salmon in the fish lift since the facility opened in 1993.

Not only has the number of returning salmon increased but the size of these salmon has also increased, according to Nick Staats, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fishery biologist. In the fall of 2014, biologists measured a 32-inch, 14-pound male salmon, which would be a new state record.

Salmon captured at Winooski One will be transported and released above the dam on the Winooski River. Salmon will have access to the upper Winooski and its tributaries from the Essex 19 dam, near the five-corners in Essex Junction, upstream 23 miles to the Bolton Dam. Steelhead rainbow trout captured at the fish lift will be released between the Winooski One and Essex 19 dams.

The increasing salmon returns are the result of cooperative efforts of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore this native fish to Lake Champlain. In addition to fish passage programs, cooperating agencies perform sea lamprey control and stocking efforts to help restore Atlantic salmon.

source: Vermont Fish and Wildlife