Pen Rearing

PenRearingPen rearing was first implemented on Lake Ontario in 1999. In 2000 the Genesee Charter Boat Association, in conjunction with the New York State DEC, began a second pen rearing site located right in our back yard…. the Genesee River. Each year we raise 85,000 Chinook (king) salmon and 10,000 steelhead trout.

Pen rearing basics: Trout and salmon, by nature return to their “native” streams to reproduce. Other than Atlantic Salmon and Lake Trout all of the other species of trout and salmon, in Lake Ontario, are stocked by hatcheries. Pen rearing projects allow hatchery produced fish to “smolt” in other locations and get the “scent” of the tributaries that they are pen raised in. In turn these fish will return in a few years as adults to these locations to spawn.

IMG_9804Involvement is 100% volunteer and a group effort by all. Aluminum pens are fully lined with special nets and then manually placed into the flowing waters of the Genesee River. For the next 3 weeks volunteers feed the fish, clean the pens, check their condition, and monitor water temperatures under the guidance of the DEC. Once the water temperature warms and “our babies” have grown, we then release them into the lake.

Funding for this project, other than the fish, is totally based on contributions. Nets need attention every year, and pens need maintenance, so contributions are always encouraged. To Donate to the Genesee Pen Rearing project please contact Mickey McDonald, our treasurer, at 671-5168. 

Key Benefits

  1. Direct involvement from community volunteers with the fishery and New York State DEC
  2. Pen Rearing Sites have benefited return ratios as high as 7:1 over direct stocked salmonoids
  3. Higher survival rates of juvenile fish

This years feeding schedule has three (3) hour time slots available from 7:00AM-10:00AM, 10:00AM-1:00PM, 1:00PM-4:00PM and 4:00PM-7:00PM
Interested in volunteering? Please contact Randy Calus 739-0569 or Ken Biemiller 750-8874 or via our Contact Form.