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Below The Surface

Monday, October 1, 2012

Muskellunge Are Back!!!!!!

Lake Champlain is the only lake in New England to which muskellunge (muskie)are native.

According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the largest Muskellunge caught and recorded in Vermont was a 38.22 lbs fish taken on September 9, 2005 from the Missisquoi River by Chris Beebe.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife - Fish Transport Vehicle

This year ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center partnered with Vermont Fish & Wildlife to acquire several juvenile muskie to display in an exhibit in the near future. 
The muskie originated from eggs taken from wild brood stock collected in April, 2012 on Lake Chautauqua in western New York State. 

New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Chautauqua Hatchery, located  on Lake Chautauqua in Mayville NY, hatched the eggs and grew them to 4 inches for release.  
Currently, the few juveniles at ECHO are 6 ½ months old, but many thousands more were released into Lake Champlain on August 22, 2012.

Juvenile Muskie Ready for Release


The released muskie are expected to attain 10 to 12 inches before winter sets in and their growth slows. 
In the hatchery, they have been fed exclusively a formulated pellet diet, but once they switch over to live prey in the lake, their growth rates will be very high. 




In the last 4 years, Vermont Fish & Wildlife have stocked a total of 25,000 of these fish into the lower Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay in an attempt to restore a viable muskellunge population to Lake Champlain.   
Here are the actual stocking numbers provided by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife:

Year             #of fish      
2008            250
2009           10,000
2010           0
2011           5,300
2012           8,800
We invite you to come visit the Upper Animal Care (UAC) window on the top floor at ECHO where we have 2 juvenile muskie on display. Come watch them grow!


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