The Round Valley Trout Association
RVTA’s Experimental Baitfish Program is a Huge Success -by Mike Roman
As you know we have had a bait fish forage issue in RV since the decline of the natural herring population during the 90s. For the past 2yrs the RVTA Baitfish Committee has stocked shiners, about 60,000 total at a cost of over $5800 all accomplished with donations from the generous members of RVTA. This past year Mike Kalinchock was playing on the web and found an article on shiner fry for sale and gave me a call. We contacted the hatchery in Arkansas, found out all the details and decided that it was a worthwhile experiment, buying Golden Shiners as fry, and raising them locally as forage. We then proposed the project to NJF&W, and with luck, Craig Lemon, Supervisor at Hackettstown Hatchery took on the project of raising the Shiner fry. A few calls to Anderson’s Hatchery in Arkansas and we were all set to go. The fry were air flown right to Craig the last week of May. He had 2 specially prepared ponds all set up. The order was for 2 boxes totaling 500,000 fry. With Craig’s nurturing, the li’l buggers grew to 2-3 inches during their 3-month stay at the Hackettstown fish spa. During the last week of August and the first week of September they were released into Round Valley. The total yield of the project was as follows: Pond #1, 144,285 shiners of 2 to 2-1/2 inches. 2.5/3.0 188,260. Pond #2, 188,260 shiners between 2-1/2 to 3 inches, for a grand total of 332,545 golden shiners stocked into Round Valley. One pound of practically microscopic fry yielded 966lbs of shiners in 3 months. Not bad for a $500 investment. For the club to purchase that amount of mature bait, the cost would have been over $24,000. Needless to say, RVTA will discontinue collecting donations for the Baitfish Fund, as we currently have enough funds to continue the program for a while. Our sincere thanks goes out to Craig and Nick and all the folks who were involved at NJF&W.
Baitfish Update- Golden shiners released into Round Valley Reservoir last year numbered 110,000, 2 to 4 inches long. RVTA will continue
the program in association with the NJDF&W in 2017. RVTA will once again purchase 500,000 shiner fry from our source in Arkansas to be
raised in the Division’s ponds to be released in the fall.