Lakewood Trout Rearing Station
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of taking a tour to a “blast from the past” that is lovingly being brought back to life. A group of volunteers, headed by Scott VanLaanen, who have a passion for trout, are seeking to re-populate our favorite rivers, and streams.
This is the Lakewood Trout Rearing Station. It was built by the CCC’s back in 1939-1940. It operated continuously until 2011. During those years it raised up to a quarter of a million trout per year. Sixteen counties and Lake Michigan were stocked with Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout.
Our tour was literally a walk through history. Buildings have the original tools, special containers made to feed the fish.The office was a picture of the day they left, pens, stapler, and paper on the desk, books open to the page they were looking at. Books were still on the shelves, postings of the time on the wall. It definitely left a distinct snapshot of a day frozen in time.
Forward to 2016; the Lakewood Trout Rearing Station reopened 2015 with the support of the WI DNR. The volunteers successfully raised 15,000 Brook Trout with less than 1% mortality to release last October. They also had to raise the funds in order to feed the trout through the four and half month growing season.
This year volunteers will be raising 21,000 Brook Trout and 4,000 Brown Trout. Rearing them from fingerlings to 8-11 inch fish requires constant monitoring and care. Leaves need to be cleaned from screens in the stream which is their source of pure water flowing under the trout rearing building. Fourteen tanks will be utilized this year with a total of 25,000 trout. It will be important to monitor water temperature, pulling fatalities from tanks, cleaning tanks, periodic weighing of the fish, and keeping detailed records of observations of fish behaviors.
The group is looking at opening the site to the public on Saturdays during the month of July or by appointment. They are also in need of donations to keep the facility running. For more information or interest in volunteering, please contact Scott VanLaanen @715-850-2904.
For more information on trout rearing in Wisconsin, check out http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/hatcheries/hatcheries.html