Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hackettstown Hatchery Recently Stocked Salmon in New Jersey

Head of Lake Wawayanda at State Park boat rentals.

I was surprised to learn of landlocked salmon stockings recently this fall, since the stockings have been carried out during the spring. Lake Wawayanda got 1545, Lake Aeroflex 615, and Tilcon Lake 240 salmon between 12 and 14 inches, the sort of fish we might hope get allowed to grow larger. This is the result of a trade-off between the Hackettstown Hatchery and a Massachusetts state hatchery--1800 tiger muskellunge to Massachusetts for the salmon in return; not a bad deal, and in case you were wondering, yes, NJ Fish & Wildlife still has the Hackettstown Hatchery mostly for warmwater fish, in addition to the Pequest Hatchery.

Don't be bamboozled by fly fishermen's spiel about stocked fish being abysmally inferior to wild and native, as if stocked fish swim as inappropriate in a natural environment as schizophrenics suffer disorientation. Once these salmon acclimate to one of these three lakes, their behavior is clean, swift, and dramatic. I've seen it happen a number of times. During July and August, salmon will attack herring at the surface, even with eighty degree water temperature, shooting up from 30-foot depths to crash mightily, take their kill and dive quickly back to water cool enough for them to survive. No brown trout will do that, no matter how wild, and I've never heard of rainbows doing it, either.

These salmon are fierce.