The warm October has slowed the fall salmon run a bit, but the fact that there is any salmon run at all in the rivers that flow from the Adirondacks into Lake Champlain is a point of some celebration. The dams that powered industry, the resulting pollution from this industry and overfishing destroyed the Atlantic salmon fishery in Lake Champlain prior to the Civil War.
Salmon have been stocked in Lake Champlain, but establishing their natural breeding patterns in the lake’s tributaries have been more problematic for a variety of reasons, the largest of which have been the dams that block salmon from upstream gravel beds where they like to spawn. But the Boquet River has shown promise, following the removal of an old sawmill dam six years ago.
At the end of the month, there will be an opportunity for those who want to help restore Atlantic salmon to their natural habitat. On Friday Oct. 29 and Saturday and Oct. 30, a team of volunteers will be meeting on Loukes Road to plant 650 willow trees to help stabilize the streambank.
The site is a couple of miles upstream of Wadhams on the South Branch of the Boquet where a natural falls prevents the fish from going any further. But erosion from these sandy banks can wash downstream and cover the gravel spawning beds with silt, said Rich Redman of Trout Unlimited. The trees also help keep the water cool for cold-water fish such as trout and salmon.
Those interested in helping out can call Redman at 518-546-3378 or email him at [email protected], or call Alice Halloran of the Soil and Water Conservation District at 518-962-8225 for more information.
Editor’s note: This first appeared in the Adirondack Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.