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Hackettstown Hatchery Broodstock Collection Notes Week of March 28, 2005

Trap-netting for northern pike on Farrington Lake concluded on March 28
when the Hackettstown Hatchery crew removed the nets so that they could
be re-set in Budd Lake. Only one pike, a small female, was caught in
the final three days of netting at Farrington. Other fish caught
included 550 bluegill, 105 pumpkinseed sunfish, 82 yellow perch, 66
black crappies, 16 brown bullheads, 7 golden shiners, 6 white perch, 3
largemouth b [no swearing please] and one chain pickerel. Those fish were released back
into the lake. The water temperature in Farrington Lake was 42 degrees
at the time the nets were removed on March 28.

A total of 98,000 eggs collected from Farrington Lake pike last week
were incubated at the Hackettstown Hatchery for a nine-day period
culminating in a hatch on April 1. The hatch rate on those eggs was
over 90 percent, well above the 50-60 percent average rate for
Hackettstown Hatchery northern pike.

Heavy rains on March 28 removed much of the remaining ice cover from
Budd Lake and enabled the hatchery crew to set trap nets there on March
30. Nets remained in Budd Lake until April 4. In the five days of
trap-netting, 52 northern pike were collected from Budd Lake. Males
ranged from 13 to 28 inches in length; the largest weighed 4.6 pounds.
Females ranged from 17 to 34 inches in length; the largest weighed 9
pounds. Other fish captured in Budd Lake trap nets revealed the
abundant food supply available to pike and other predators in the lake:
4,150 yellow perch, 2,750 bluegills, 1,650 black crappies, 425
pumpkinseed sunfish, 400 white perch, 46 white suckers, 90 brown and
yellow bullheads, 34 largemouth bass, 14 chain pickerel and 9 white
catfish. Largemouth b [no swearing please] were in the 12-16 inch range, and chain
pickerel reached 24 inches in length. Northern pike captured from Budd
Lake were transported to the Hackettstown Hatchery where spawning
operations are conducted. All other species were released back into the
lake. Budd Lake pike have thus far produced 260,000 eggs, which are
currently being incubated at the Hackettstown Hatchery. Adult pike will
be returned to the lake in 1-3 weeks upon completion of the spawning
season. The water temperature in Budd Lake when the nets were first
checked on March 31 was a chilly 38 degrees, and had warmed to only 40
degrees when the nets were pulled from the lake on April 4.
 

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Why did they pull the nets so early? I'm not a biologist (and don't even play one on TV) but I figured they would have better success when the fish move into the shallows.
 

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I fished for 3 hrs. in Budd lake on thur. got blown around in my kayak, only managed 1 small northern, about 20 inches. Still waiting for the water to warm up. I am planning another trip next week, I will let you know how I make out.
 
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