Tentative hope for a native New York salmon run

An effort is underway in upstate New York to bring back a native run of landlocked salmon, according to FERN’s latest story, with Adirondack Life magazine. The story, by Paul Greenberg, focuses on the work of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife specialist to stock the Boquet River in New York with salmon that will then spawn and migrate into Lake Champlain, which straddles the border of New York and Vermont.

Salmon were once plentiful in Lake Champlain. The fish were part of a landlocked species that evolved and populated the surrounding watershed. But between overfishing and the damming of rivers, the population collapsed, and then vanished altogether in the 1880s. Although there have been efforts to restock Lake Champlain, as well as surrounding rivers, with salmon, this attempt to re-establish a spawning species adapted to a river is new.

“While there are plenty of domestic salmon throughout the Adirondacks supported by hatcheries in Vermont and New York, what the Boquet experiment is all about is trying to back-breed a Boquet-specific salmon that is imprinted upon the Boquet alone,” Greenberg writes. “Such a fish would migrate, spawn, and breed offspring that would gradually readapt to the Boquet and become a new, native fish.”