Updates for Net Pen Project

2016
May 8, 2016 Net Pen Update
A successful 2016 Net Pen Project – Since the last update, there was algae build-up noticed and cleaned off twice before release. There was sightings of quantity 4 fingerlings seen dead – out of 40,000 not bad. The release date was Tuesday May 3, 2016 with no feeding given that day. Oxygen level and water temps still needed to be taken. The fingerlings were starting to think when they saw someone that meant “feed time”. That Tuesday, when they saw the volunteer, the fingerlings were coming up to the surface waiting for their food ! These 40,000 fingerlings were released successfully  around 9:30 PM Tuesday May 3, 2016. It was dark, raining and windy with no visual sightings of any at release. We worked with the DNR and the Wild Rose Hatchery this year to have delivered the remaining Port Washington Chinook fingerling quota the next day – Wednesday May 4, 2016 – so we could reuse the now empty net pens to “hold & release” the same day to avoid bird predation. Thanks to six Club members, we were able to partially clean the pens again, move them from the end of pier 4 in the marina to the channel next to the launch ramps on Wednesday morning. Approximately 49,000 remaining quota Chinook fingerlings were delivered around 1:00 PM. These were left in the pens and successfully released that same evening around 8:30 PM, avoiding the initial bird predation. On Saturday afternoon, Another Club volunteer crew pulled the net pens from the channel and scrubbed and washed the algae build-up, readying them for another time in storage until they will be needed again.
A HUGE thank you to the Port Washington Marina and all the Volunteers who participated in the 2016 Net Pen Project – from storing, transporting ( a BIG BIG thank you to WISCONSIN TOWING ) to and from Port, launching, towing and retrieving to the monitoring and feeding – a great effort by all to make this another successful year !
April 22, 2016 Net Pen Update
The Fingerlings did arrive on Tuesday. Tuesday evening the pens were towed slowly to their present location in the Marina. Water oxygen levels have been excellent. Water Temperature, however, has been warm – approaching 58 F. This has been a concern because if temp reaches 60 F, early release of the fish would be imminent. Water temp this AM dropped and the hope is it will keep dropping for the next couple days. The appetite during feeding is FANTASTIC – it is a frenzy of fingerlings – the surface “boils” with feeding fish.
April 18, 2016 Net Pen Update
The 2 net pens are going in the water tomorrow morning at about 10:00 AM – Tuesday April 19, 2016. The 40,000 Chinook fingerlings will arrive the same day before noon from the Wild Rose hatchery.
April 6, 2016 Net Pen Update
The 4,300 assorted Rainbows were received into one net pen about 10:00 AM On Tuesday April 5, 2016. Driver of truck observed 3 or 4 fish were “floundering”. He said they might have been injured either coming out of the truck or even going into the truck at the hatchery. All others disappeared to the bottom of the net pen, occasionally darting to the surface and back down. About an hour later, the three or four were still erratic.on the surface. Marina people checked them occasionally up to 3:00 PM. I heard nothing from the Marina so all should have been ok. The Rainbows were checked on at 6:00 PM before our Club meeting. At that time, there were no fish at the surface or swimming erratically. All were out of sight at the bottom of the pen. At 9:45 PM the ends of the pens were raised and tied off for the Rainbows to swim out of the pens at their leisure. There were a few fish that were observed in the dark with flashlights. We did observe 1 that was swimming erratically.
Wednesday evening the Net Pens were retrieved back to “dry land”. The plan is to do this for 5,800 yearly Cohos and 17,300 yearly Browns before we start with two weeks of monitoring and feeding the 40,000 Chinook fingerlings on or around April 19.
Volunteer Training Session
For all volunteers who have signed up to monitor and feed the Chinooks for the two weeks, we are holding a training session on Saturday April 9, 2016 at the Port Washington Marina Launch Ramps. We will instruct on operation of the oxygen / temperature machine, review feeding and monitoring procedures and start filling in specific time slots for the two weeks. See you all at the launch ramps on Saturday. For those that cannot make it Saturday, we will hold training sessions throughout the day we do actually receive the 40,000 fingerlings – planned for April 19.
A great big thank you to all current and future peaple helping with this year’s Net Pen Project.
April 5, 2016 Net Pen Update
Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery brought 2,300 yearly Ganaraska Rainbow Trout – approx 5 inches  – and 2,000 Chambers Creek Rainbow Trout – approx 6 inches – at 10:00 AM. The Club is holding them in a net pen and planning on release after the April monthly Club meeting tonite. Hopefully, this will reduce bird predation.
Spring 2016 Net Pen Project
The WI DNR has advised our Club that around April 19, 2016 we will be receiving 40,000 Chinook fingerlings to feed and monitor similar to last year’s 15,000 fingerlings that we took care of. We have also talked to WI DNR of expanding our use of the 2 net pens. Between now and April 19, there should be some additional stocking of Rainbow fingerlings and coho and Brown yearly into Port Washington harbor. The Club is going to have these be put into the net pens when they arrive at Port and then release them at night to avoid bird predation. Stay tuned for more updates on the Spring 2016 Net Pen Project.

2015

May 11, 2015 Update

A very successful release of the net pen Chinook fingerlings occurred Tuesday evening May 5, 2015 at 7:45 PM. The end panels of the pens worked flawlessly in raising them up to let the fingerlings swim out from the bottom of the net pens. The DNR people took a sampling of the fish Tuesday morning but those results are not yet known. When available, I will post the growth rates of the net pen fish and the hatchery fish for comparison

Also on Tuesday at noon, the Hatchery brought over to Port the remaining quota of fingerlings and released them on the launch ramps. There were only 6 terns flying around – so sea gulls or other birds. These terns did dive about 15 to 29 times in the first 2 hours, but after 2 hours, they were no longer diving. The weather on Wednesday was overcast and foggy also so there were 2 days for the fish to acclimate and avoid a lot of bird predation.

Only time will tell how successful this endeavor was but every phase went extremely smoothly for being our first time at this.

On Friday, May 8 we hauled the pens back to the launch ramps and washed off all algae growth. Now off to their storage location until next time.

Check out the net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website.

May 1, 2015 Update

I was on the schedule for the Friday night Fish “Fry” ( sorry, I couldn’t pass that one up ). Again the fingerlings were very active in feeding. Jim Brooks posted some underwater videos under “Fishing Reports”, then “”Current Hotline & Reports”. Check them out. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did an article on the net pens on April 22, 2015. The Ozaukee Press did an article on April 29, 2015. Check out the links to the articles below.

Journal Sentinel Article

Ozaukee Press Article

Check out the net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website. Stay tuned for further updates.

April 30, 2015 Update

Wednesday evening, Dale Backhaus and Jim Brooks used an underwater camera and observed NO mortalities and possibly some smolting occurring on some of the fingerlings. Both pens were again brushed for algae buildup on Thursday. The fingerlings are continuing to be very aggressive when feeding. DNR and or Hatchery people will do a sampling of the net pen fingerlings next week Tuesday as a comparison to the remaining Hatchery fingerlings to be released at Port sometime Tuesday.

We are on the homestretch of the project. Everything is looking all positive.

Check out the net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website. Stay tuned for further updates.

April 27, 2015 Update

Needed to feed fish this morning and then weigh out a sampling for 2nd week food amount calculation. Feeding was used to tempt the fish to the small net. This had limited success as those little guys are REALLY, REALLY fast swimmers. We were able to net 80 fingerlings for the sampling. The fingerlings are bulking up, going from 95.1 fish per lb initially to 82.2 fish per lb. now. Total weight mass for each pen increased from 78.8 lbs. total fish weight to 91.25 lbs. total fish weight – an increase of 12.45 lbs. or 15.8%. An individual fingerling sampling grew from 4.77 grams to 5.52 grams – an increase of 0.75 grams or 15.7 %.
Dissolved oxygen and temperature readings continue to be excellent.
The left pen was voraciously feeding, darting, swirling and jumping. The right pen was more subdued compared to the left pen.

Check out the net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website. Stay tuned for further updates.

April 26, 2015 Update

There were some reports of some algae buildup on the nets on Friday and Saturday. Sunday afternoon Dale Backhaus used his underwater video camera to look throughout the pens and confirmed algae buildup as many, many fingerling chinooks swam in and out of camera range. The pens were brushed down with brooms, cleaning the nets both inside, outside and the bottom of each pen. A BIG, BIG THANK YOU to Dale, Willie Rusch, Bill Gilbert ( Jackson Truck Body Associate Member ) and Dan Mitchell for the time they spent cleaning the algae off the netting Sunday afternoon. When viewing throughout the pens for the algae, unfortunately we recorded our fist mortality. The was 1 ( one ) fingerling that was dead on the bottom of the left net pen. Water temperatures measured bout 3 1/2 feet down continue to be below 50 degrees Fahrenheit even with the power plant water discharge. Dissolved oxygen levels are reading above 11. Both continue to be excellent.

Some of the Club Members feeding and monitoring the fingerlings see them feeding better each day as they acclimate to their new surroundings.

We will monitor algae growth and probably brush the nets 1 or 2 more times. Any members willing to assist with this can contact members Dale Backhaus or Dan Mitchell.

Check out the net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website. Stay tuned for further updates.

April 24, 2015 update

The 2 net pens were brought down to the marina on Sunday, April 19. A BIG thank you to Jason Wilmot of WISCONSIN TOWING for hauling the net pens to the harbor. The net pens were “launched” around 6:00 PM on Monday April 20. Both the Milwaukee Journal / Sentinel and the Ozaukee Press were present, taking pictures and information. Hopefully there will be some press write-ups. Tuesday morning, April 21, the Hatchery truck arrived and off loaded 15,000 Chinook fingerlings next to ramp 6. The Ozaukee Press was again present taking pictures. From 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM we slowly towed the net pens to their final location for the fingerlings 2 week stay. Monitoring and feeding Tuesday evening, Wednesday and Thursday all were excellent.  Check out some net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website. Stay tuned for further updates.

April 20, 2015 update.

The WI DNR is partnering with 5 or 6 clubs on Lake Michigan this spring for Chinook Salmon Net Pen plantings. Our Club is one of the 5 or 6 participating.

The Net Pens are completed and ready to go. We will be receiving about 15,000 fingerling Chinook Salmon Tuesday morning on April 21, 2015. Our Club will be feeding (3 times daily) and monitoring the stock for 2 weeks before their release. Our plan is to release late evening to avoid bird predation. Check out some net pen pictures in the “Fishing Reports” part of our website. Stay tuned for further updates.