Trapped fish freed from overflow pool at Waterport Dam
WATERPORT – Orleans County Tourism received assistance from Brockport State College students and Brookfield Renewable Power to free 18 mature steelhead from one of the overflow pools at the Waterport Dam on Tuesday.
The group was able to electro-fish and seine or net the mature steelhead.
“They were spawned out fish primarily and we did capture at least two smolts that were likely earlier spring stocked Coho salmon,” said Ron Bierstine, owner of Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge. “The effort was spearheaded by SUNY Brockport Environmental Science and Biology Departments with about 20 of their students.”
Brookfield Renewable Power, owner of the power-generating site, was on hand for a safety briefing and was ready with a fish transfer culvert apparatus that didn’t need to be used.
“We were able to just cradle the fish in a net or seine and I quickly released them back into the turbine (tailrace) channel,” Bierstine wrote in this week’s fishing report from the Orleans County Tourism Department. “Some fish were certainly in rough post spawn state, but every fish I released swam away under its own power – with the chance to get back to the main Lake and recoup.”
Bierstine thanked Brookfield for the allowing access and for the assistance from SUNY Brockport and students.
The group wasn’t able to capture any fish in the main plunge pool at the base of the falls with the equipment they had and the allowable access.
“But I’d count it as a success showing that it can be done and that likely with what we found in the one pool that there are a goodly amount more fish in the other plunge pool,” Bierstine wrote. “So hopefully we can collectively think of ways to capture those fish in the future and can work towards and consider a better remedy to keep fish out of that channel or give them some passage out of there when flows recede so that they don’t become stranded.”