A special delivery arrived from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Thursday (April 6).
Approximately 40,000 chinook salmon fingerlings discovered their new, temporary home at the rearing pond, located at Seventh Avenue and Sheridan Road.
The Kenosha Sportfishing and Conservation Association (KSCA) will feed the fingerlings twice a day — once at 8:30 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. — for approximately three weeks or until they are mature enough to swim in the Pike River and Lake Michigan.
The goal is to create an “imprint” as a breeding ground for the fingerlings to return in four years as 30-pound kings.
The volunteer effort has paid huge dividends. Kenosha holds bragging rights for having one of the highest catch-rates on Lake Michigan, according to the Wisconsin DNR.
Kenosha benefits not only from its location but also its variety of species including king salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. The fish have thrived with the return of alewives, the primary bait food in Lake Michigan.
KSCA, founded in 1959, recently took over full responsibility of the rearing pond after the WDNR exited its lease agreement with the City of Kenosha.
New equipment, operating costs and maintenance of the pond are funded through membership dues and local sponsorships. An underwater camera was installed to monitor the fingerlings and watch them grow from any computer or mobile device.
The Kenosha Fisheries Restoration Foundation — focused on research, education, habitat, restoration and accessibility — was created as a KSCA fundraising arm. The organization plans to develop an education and research center at the rearing pond.
KSCA sponsorships are available by emailing Jim Zondlak at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the KSCA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kenoshasportfishing.
— Thomas Corrao contributed to this report