A group of like-minded fishermen & women with the mission of promoting the sport of fly-fishing, sharing experiences, and improving our ecosystems for all.

          Our Mission Statement:

  • To improve the fishery of the New Haven River and nearby watersheds in central Vermont including but not limited to Otter Creek, Middlebury River, Neshobe River and Lewis Creek.

  • To promote and practice responsible fishing and conservation that protects and preserves those rivers and adjoining watersheds' trout populations.

  • To promote the sport of angling and introduce others to the sport and the obligations associated with being a responsible angler.

  • To advocate for clean and pollution free watersheds through responsible recreational and conservation practices, public education, practicing sound scientifically based programs and cooperation with local, state and federal environmental authorities.

Please consider contacting the Governor with your opinion For or Against the closure of the Salisbury Hatchery

Copy of Doug Zehner’s letter to Gov. Scott

TO:  Governor Phil Scott

RE: Salisbury Fish Culture Station 

I am a recent retiree that located to Vermont from a working career with USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service.  A career that afforded me the experiences of living in many states and sections of the country.  For almost 40 years, my vocation in natural resource conservation allowed me to witness many resource issues and how people solved those problems.  My working career concluded in Washington, DC as the National Watershed Operations Manager in 2011.  My wife and I relocated to Vermont in our retirement, frankly because it’s a beautiful place with wonderful people.

But when I read in local newspapers that in the proposed 2019 state budget for Vermont included the decommissioning of the Salisbury Fish Culture Station, I was shocked and taken aback. This is not a solution to a resource concern – but as Ben Franklin would have said, a “Penny wise and pound foolish” decision.

I personally strongly oppose the decommissioning and closure of the Salisbury Fish Culture Station located in Salisbury, Vermont as proposed in the Governor's Vermont state budget of 2019.

I know that this station provides a vital and necessary service to the state of Vermont especially as it relates to maintaining and improving Vermont’s fisheries and economic welfare associated with the sport fishing industry.  This closure would be especially impactful to rural communities through the reduction of the sale of gas, food, hotel rooms, camp sites, fishing equipment, and guide services among other activities besides being an invaluable tool in environmental education.  Fewer fish = less fishing success = fewer tourists and tourists that will travel elsewhere = decreased $$$ revenue for Vermont.

I believe that these negative impacts combined with the cessation of the “Trout in the Classroom” project, a landmark environmental education project in almost 100 schools across Vermont, would be devastating.  The program would abruptly end with the loss of brook trout eggs, supplied by this state hatchery.  This (TIC) program has literally exploded exponentially in the last 5 years as a means of teaching many principles of ecology through the raising of brook trout from eggs in the classroom to release into Vermont waters.  In some cases, it is the first “field experience” that many students have with the natural resource sciences and the natural world they must live in.

Vermont is fortunate to have some rivers, lakes and ponds that support naturally reproducing trout populations, including everything from small upland streams and

beaver ponds that hold abundant wild brook trout, to bigger rivers which hold wild brown and rainbow trout, and large cold water lakes with wild lake trout and salmon.  However, not all our waters are able to support wild trout populations. In fact, many streams in Vermont are “marginal” trout fisheries today - at best.  With the loss of stream stocking, more strain and pressure will be placed on those recovering populations of our native fish and will jeopardize or completely endanger any recovery. 

Cultured fish are central to supporting local fisheries and promoting the sport of fishing in Vermont to the tune of 750,000 fish released into Vermont waters in 2018.  This support for fisheries is in grave danger in this proposed budget. 

I urge you to make up this budget shortfall and support the continued operation of the Salisbury Fish Culture Station, even if it means raising the license fees in Vermont.

Nearly two out of every three Vermont residents hunt, fish or watch wildlife. This is second only to Alaska as a percentage of population participation in these activities. In fact, according to a 2015 University of Vermont study, “the most recent national survey of wildlife-related expenditures, Vermont residents and out-of-state visitors spent approximately $685 million a year on hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing (U.S Fish and Wildlife Service 2012).”  - Eric LaMontagne

Furthermore, the Salisbury hatchery, which is on the National Historic Register, attracts more tourists than any of the other four hatcheries in the state. Currently more than 6,000 visitors a year tour the facility with almost no active promotion. If the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, or the state, spent a little effort to market it, no doubt the hatchery could become an even greater tourist attraction for the area. As a business community, we have been remiss not to have capitalized on this opportunity sooner. 

It’s also important to know that the Salisbury hatchery is the state’s only broodstock station, mating male and female fish that in turn hatch about 5 million trout eggs each year for the other hatcheries. If the Salisbury facility were shut down, the state would have to postpone stocking fish statewide until new broodstock could grow to the point that they reach sexual maturity and produce eggs. That is hugely disruptive and translates into the following impact, as noted by the Addison County Wildlife Conservation Group: 

- Brook trout – no catchable sized trout stocking for 2022 and 2023. 

- Brown and rainbow trout – no catchable trout stocking for 2022–2024.  

- Steelhead – no yearling steelhead stockings for 2022-2025.  

- Lake trout – no yearling lake trout stockings for 2022–2027.  

This decommissioning of the Salisbury Fish Culture Station threatens a very important part of the state’s economy as well as its natural resource base.  I urge you and the legislature to fund this critically important piece of maintaining our fisheries resources in Vermont.

Thank you for your careful re-consideration, 

Douglas Zehner



 

Addison County provides some phenomenal fishing opportunities, all within a few minutes of Middlebury. Whether you prefer vibrant trout, toothy pike, or acrobatic bass, your options are endless.
 

The New Haven Angling Association holds many events throughout the year, ranging from introductory fly fishing, to youth-day, to casting demos, fly-tying nights as well as the tremendously fun and rewarding river restoration projects. See what's going on and join us!

Like fish? Or more broadly, do you like nature? The NHRAA does a lot of amazing work in this community and beyond, and relies on the support of individuals to help achieve our mission of improving the fisheries, environment, and community of fishing in Addison County.