“It takes about 18 months from egg all the way until now which is called smolt stage," Fish Production Supervisor Tom Chairvolotti said.
On Wednesday they made the trek from the islands to Winooski, ready to be released into the river, and eventually Lake Champlain.
"You hook the hose up to the tank and then we basically flush them out just like a gigantic water slide for them," Chairvolotti said.
The salmon then race down another pipe straight into the water blow. "It's a lot more gentle to them so that they can end up in the nice big salmon hole that's below here," he said.
Chairvolotti says the goal is for these fish to grow in lake waters, then be caught by anglers later in the season, which starts April 12. Fish and Wildlife says there's so much ice on local waterways from the cold winter that in many cases they still can't get to the water. That's delaying stocking operations, but once the ice starts to retreat just a little bit, it actually might help.
"That's really good, when the ice has pulled away because then they can get under and get acclimated to their new conditions. The fish eating birds like the cormorants and sea gulls don't have a chance to get them because they're under ice."
In addition to stocking in the Winooski, Fish and Wildlife also released salmon around the Grand Isle ferry. Next week the operation moves to the Charlotte ferry crossing.
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