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March 27, 2012

GREEN BAY - Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff collecting eggs for state fish hatcheries from steelhead migrating up Lake Michigan tributaries report they are seeing more fish than they have in the past two to three years.

Besadny egg collection
DNR fisheries crews collect eggs from migrating steelhead at the Besadny egg collection facility.
DNR Photo by Trish Ossmann

Steelhead, also known as rainbow trout, spend two to three summers in the lake foraging for food before maturing. In spring, these shiny fish make their way back to the rivers from where they were born to spawn.

"There are few things more exciting for us than see these beautiful fish fight their way up small rivers in northeast Wisconsin to spawn," said Steve Hogler, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Natural Resources in Green Bay.

What is making this year's spawn a little different is that there are more fish coming into the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility in Kewaunee than they've seen in several years.

"We're not exactly sure why this is happening," says Hogler, "We actually have been stocking fewer steelhead in the past few years to ensure that we stock larger, healthier fish. In the past week we've processed upwards of 550 fish through Besadny alone."

In addition to the eggs being collected at Besadny, steelhead are being spawned at the Root River facility in southern Wisconsin.

The average steelhead was running 25 to 29 inches long and 10 pounds.
DNR Photo by Trish Ossmann

The average size of a steelhead can run from 25 to 29 inches and upwards of 10 pounds. They got their name from the shiny, silver color they take on.

DNR biologists capture the fish as they make their way up the Kewaunee River. When they are brought into the facility, they are weighed, measured, and, depending on their age, are spawned. The eggs and milt harvested from the fish are then processed on site and taken to the Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery where another batch of young steelhead are raised to be stocked next year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Hogler - 920-662-5480 or Trish Ossmann, DNR Northeast Region public affairs manager - 920-662-5122

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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