A Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote sums up this past month perfectly, "The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain".
Rain is a beautiful thing when you work in fisheries, although it is not always convenient. A rainy day is perfect for writing a hatchery update (like today), but not so much for a redd count
We typically spend our November redd counting throughout the East Machias Watershed. What is a
, you may ask? A redd is essentially a nest that a female salmon creates on the river bottom. Once the eggs have been deposited into the pit and fertilized, she then covers them with gravel. How do we count them? Well we dress very warm, pack a tasty lunch, hop in the canoes and we pole down spawning shoals in search of freshly disturbed areas of the stream-bed.
This year's redd counts have been rather few and far between, due to rain. Unfortunately when we receive this much rain, the rivers can be quite dangerous to be on and the in-water visibility is poor, making it difficult to see the redds.
Now for the most important question. Have we found any redds? Why yes we have! We have seen 4 redds in the Mainstem, 1 in Northern Stream and 1 in Barrows Stream. Typically 1 female digs 1 redd. We will conduct more redd counts when the conditions improve, before the river freeze over.
On another note, we have spent a few days down at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery in East Orland this month. There we were able to lend a hand to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) during the days they were spawning the East Machias and Pleasant River adults. Those fertilized eggs will be moving into our two hatcheries sometime after the first of the year. Thank you to the USFWS for allowing us to lend a hand, and for snapping a few photos of us!
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From the Peter Gray Hatchery Managers, Zach and Rachel