Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery
A total of 13 northern pike were captured and transported back to the hatchery for spawning. This number was a disappointment from the 37 total captured over a period of 13 days in 2007. Water temperatures ranged from 39 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit over this period. The 7 male pike ranged in length from 21.6 - 29.6 inches and weighed an average of 2.93 pounds. The 2 females ranged in size from 24.2 - 28.8 inches and weighed an average of 5.65 pounds.
With the first couple of days at Spruce Run Reservoir being unproductive, the Hackettstown crew set three trap nets in the old northern pike stand-by, Budd Lake. Trap nets were fished from March 14th - March 25th. Over the eleven-day netting period in Budd Lake, the crew captured a total of 166 northern pike of which 117 were males and 35 were females.
Towards the end of the spawning period only female pike were brought back to the hatchery. This is a significant increase from the 2007 harvest of 64. Male pike ranged in length from 19.2 - 29.6 inches and weighed an average of 2.9 pounds. Female pike were considerably larger at 21.4 - 38.8 inches and averaged 6.73 pounds. Water temps ranged from 38 - 44 degrees.
Eggs were collected from both Spruce Run Reservoir and Budd Lake northern females. The total egg production for 2008 was 690,778 of which 59.0%, or 405,251, hatched. The hatch rate is comparable to the long-term rate of approximately 65%. Over the next two-month period, the number of pike will be culled down to the 25,000 top-quality six to seven-inch fingerlings for stocking in New Jersey lakes.
The Hackettstown crew began their walleye broodstock collection season on March 26th when they set one Pennsylvania and one South Dakota-style trapnet in the mouth of Neldon Brook at Swartswood Lake. The second highest season total of 326 adult walleyes were captured just below the old record set in 2007 of 352.
Male walleyes ranged in size from 13.8 - 22 inches, weighing .85 - 4.45 pounds. Females ranged from 17.4 - 28.7 inches in length and 2.25 - 11.2 pounds in weight. The average Swartswood Lake walleye was 20.2 inches long, exceeding the minimum size limit of 18 inches, and weighed 3.6 pounds. A remarkable 65 females weighing over 5 pounds made up 20% of the overall catch!
The catch was composed of 205 males and 115 females. Ninety-eight females were spawned to produce 10.6 million eggs, an average of 108,163 eggs per female. The netting crew hit the peak of the walleye spawning season perfectly, as 98 of the 115 females (85%) were running ripe with eggs at the time of capture.
About 1.2 million 3-day old fry were set up in hatchery ponds for growout and another 1.1 million fry were stocked in the Delaware River between Poxono and Belvidere. The expected hatchery pond production of walleye fingerlings is about 300,000 two-inchers and 35,000 four-inchers.
On April 8th, the Hackettstown Hatchery trapnetting crew moved their operations north to Greenwood Lake in search of muskellunge broodstock. The trapnetters were successful, capturing a total of 35 muskies, the highest total since 37 were captured in 1999.
The Greenwood catch consisted of 23 males and 11 females. The males ranged in length from 30.2 - 44 inches and weighed from 7.25 - 20.8 pounds. The females ranged from 37.2 - 48.5 inches and weighed from 13.75 - 36 pounds. The 36-pound 48.5-inch female captured on April 8th was the heaviest muskie the hatchery has captured since it started broodstock collection efforts in 1996. She was captured running ripe with eggs and the crew spawned 113,829 eggs from her that afternoon.
The final 2008 broodstock collection lake was Echo Lake Reservoir, part of the Newark Watershed Reservoir System. Four trapnets were set and fished between April 14th and April 23rd. In just over a week, the crew captured 36 muskies, the highest number ever, surpassing 2004’s mark of 26.
Another important fact was that of the 19 females captured, 12 of them came into the hatchery running ripe with eggs. The males ranged in size from 33.2 - 41.6 inches and weighed between 8.75 - 15.9 pounds. The females ranged from 34.4 - 46.5 inches and weighed between 9.25 - 25.75 pounds.
In all, 18 female muskies produced a total of 1,173,592 eggs, an average of 65,200 eggs per female. The eggs hatched at a rate of about 51%, which is comparable to other years. Muskie fry will be raised to 10-inch advanced fingerlings in hatchery tanks and ponds at which time they will be stocked.
On top of the 18 female muskies used to produce the million purebred muskie eggs to be utilized in State, eleven other females were also spawned with 30 male northern pike captured from Budd Lake earlier in the collection season to produce 427,000 tiger muskie eggs. Over the past two seasons, the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation has requested the Division’s Hackettstown Hatchery to supply them with 100,000 swimup tiger muskie fry. Prior to the fish trade and movement restrictions that have been placed on many of the Great Lake States, New York was able to acquire these fry from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
All broodstock collected for use in the hatchery programs were transported to the hatchery where the spawn taking operations are performed by hatchery personnel. Within a week of spawning the fish are returned to the waters where they were collected.
All adult muskies handled at the hatchery over the past several years have been tagged with orange streamer tags inserted near the base of the dorsal fin. The tags bear the message "CALL HACKETTSTOWN HATCHERY (908) 852-4950" along with a tag number. Anglers who call in to report catching a tagged fish will be told when the fish was tagged, and its length and weight at the time of tagging. Three previously tagged fish from Greenwood Lake and eight from Echo Lake were captured during the 2008 broodstock collection.
The purpose of the Hackettstown Hatchery’s broodstock program is to provide the eggs from which fish are raised at the hatchery. All fish raised at the Hackettstown Hatchery are stocked in public waters throughout the state to provide recreational fishing for licensed anglers and their families.
In coordination with State fisheries biologists, the Hackettstown Hatchery is raising the following numbers of muskellunge, tiger muskies, and walleyes to meet the state’s needs for for 2008:
24,520 northern pike fingerlings for stocking in:
Cranberry Lake (Sussex County); Pompton Lake and Pompton River (Passaic County); Spruce Run Reservoir (Hunterdon County); Budd Lake (Morris County); Farrington Lake (Middlesex County); Deal Lake (Monmouth County); Millstone River and the Passaic River.
11,111 muskellunge for stocking in:
Greenwood Lake, Monksville Reservoir and Echo Lake Reservoir (Passaic County); Lake Hopatcong (Morris and Sussex Counties), D&R Canal 10-mile stretch (Somerset and Mercer Counties); Manasquan Reservoir (Monmouth County); Carnegie Lake and Mercer Lake (Mercer County); Mountain Lake and Furnace Lake (Warren County); Shenandoah Lake (Ocean County); Little Swartswood Lake (Sussex County); and Cooper River Park Lake (Camden County).
207,950 walleyes for stocking in:
Lake Hopatcong (Morris County), Swartswood Lake (Sussex County), Greenwood Lake (Passaic County), Canistear Reservoir (Sussex County), and Monksville Reservoir (Passaic County).
The hatchery also raises 13 other species of fish for waters throughout the state - see the Hackettstown Hatchery Production and Stocking Summaries for details.
Below are summary tables of fish collected in spring, 2008.
Website: NJ Fish and Wildlife Website
June 18, 2008
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