Members of the Almanor Fishing Association learn how to recognize and extract dead fish eggs from the thousands currently being nurtured in the incubators at the Almanor Research Institute lab at Chester High School. These new eggs are triploids that will produce fertile brown trout for Lake Almanor. Photo submitted

Fishing association continues to nurture Lake Almanor

In their continuing efforts to nurture the health and welfare of Lake Almanor and its fishery, members of the Almanor Fishing Association (AFA) traveled to the Feather River College fish hatchery.

The FRC hatchery donated several thousand brown trout eggs to the Chester High School limnology program last spring that were hatched, raised to fingerlings and delivered to the AFA holding pens in Hamilton Branch about a month ago, and in mid-January delivered another 50,000 that will be nurtured by AFA members toward the same end.

At the college, AFA members were meet by FRC Hatchery Director Adam Fuller, who gave them an informational tour of the facility and its relationship to the Environmental Studies program at the college.

John Crotty, president of AFA, mentioned that, “One of the high points was when we got our first look at our 30,000 or 40,000 new ‘grandbabies’ that were hatched on Christmas Day.”

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Crotty also noted that both the hatchery and the ARI lab are being maintained by a single individual and both are in need of some TLC.

The AFA is developing a plan to help both facilities with needed maintenance and upgrades as a means to increase the sourcing of quality trout for Lake Almanor and help both schools offer expanded educational opportunities for students.

The process for the CHS program has already begun as several AFA members met with Dallas Tognotti at the high school and learned how to extract any dead eggs from the incubator.

AFA volunteers will continue to check and remove dead eggs whenever school is out of session.

Once the eggs have hatched, they will also feed and care for the fish during the summer months.

Crotty said, ”Tognotti is planning on having an ARI limnology class next year, and our goal is to see browns in most if not all of the tanks in the ARI lab.”

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AFA members also recently joined Tognotti as he and hatchery expert Brian Hayes evaluated the equipment currently in the Chester High ARI lab.

Hayes is one of the individuals involved in the original installation of the hatchery equipment and is quite familiar with it.

Everyone agreed the lab tour was very helpful in identifying the most crucial needs to keep the facility working properly.

The two main areas of concern are the chiller unit and the oxygenation pump that has been running non-stop for several years and needs to be replaced.

Plans for the Veterans’ Fishing Day on June 23 are already in process and the association is looking for veterans that would like to spend a day on Lake Almanor.

“Our fishing day has been growing each year and we are hoping to accommodate 75 veterans for this years event,” said Crotty.

AFA along with Field of Dreams and numerous local fishing guides are planning an excellent day of fishing on the lake.

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Most of the guides will be trolling for trout, but there will be a few boats that will target bass and/or offer fly-fishing.

There will also be a couple of pontoon boats that can accommodate veterans with physical disabilities.

Following the day on the lake the Lake Almanor Elks Lodge is hosting a barbeque at LACC Rec.1.

With many sponsors, the afternoon will include drawings for four custom fishing rods by Duncan McIntyre and other items.

Each participant will also receive a special event T-shirt.

If you are a veteran and would like to participate, contact John or Deb Crotty by e-mail at: [email protected] Include name, phone number, email address, preferred fishing method and shirt size.