#Onthisday in 1950, Outdoors Writer Fred Streevers had an article about the fish along the Hudson. The Schentectady Gazette published Fred Streever’s Field Forest Stream column.
“The following letter is printed verbatim. We have seen fish pickup in quantities when the Barge Canal locks are being drained for the winter and we know the Hudson is or was a fish producing river and should be so again.
Although we have fished the Hudson and its tributaries we are not prepared to qualify as an expert on the subject. Fish ladders are the usual accompaniment of new dams. I am not prepared to say that fish ladders are of importance in the Hudson river dam mentioned but it was a matter of some surprise to note that Mr. Rix’ letter stated that there are no fish ladders in the Hudson dams mentioned: —
“Are you interested in increasing the fish in the Hudson, Hoosic, Fish Creek over 1,000 per cent at a cost of less than $17,000? It can be done.
In 1924 while supplying the Church at Easton in Washington County I found a record of where six wagon loads of fish had been applied as fertilizer on the Parsonage garden. I became interested. Where “could they get such an amount of fish?
A careful search disclosed that tons of fish were caught at the entrance of Fish Creek and in Coville.
Why weren’t there any large quantities of fish there now?
“Well, a careful examination of record and letters showed that one year there was plenty, the next none. Why?
A dam was put in the Hudson therefore no spring fish run. No fish.
LAST YEAR sturgeon were caught at Stillwater, just a few. More were caught at Troy and thousands of small fish like sardines spent hours trying to leap the dam at Troy. I saw them there.
“How can we get more fish? Put three feet wide fish ladders on the dams from Troy to Fort Edward, on the dams at Victory Mills, Clark’s Mills. Grangerville.
The main runs of sturgeon (Albany beef), menhadden shad occur when water is going over the dams anyway so six inches of water down the steps would not interfere with the Power Company.
After spawning at Mechanicville, Kidney Creek, etc., most of the fish would find their way back to the sea without keeping the ladders open in dry weather.
An engineer who was interested said that he was sure $17,000 would build the ladders of concrete and probably less for wood. “
Are you interested? I have been trying to get this program started for years but only get laughed at in Albany. Can you give us a hand with an article in the Gazette on what fishing used to be at Fish Creek”… Le Roy T. Rix, Ballston Lake
PERHAPS THE TERM ‘fish ladders” may need a bit of explanation. They are not like the ladder folks use to get onto roofs or fall out of trees from. Nor are they like step ladders, for fish aren’t equipped to step up or out. But fish ladders do, nevertheless, serve fishes desirous of getting from one level to a higher one.
In water this is no such simple matter as going upward into the atmosphere. Water is fluid, It is also heavy and when it falls over a dam of very moderate height or down a spillway, the fish find it very difficult or even impossible to leap up to the upper level or to swim against the heavy current.
Many species of fish go upstream, perhaps to spawn or possibly to escape pollution but a free passage of the rivers of any stream and one at least as easy as that in normal use during the thousands of “years when the fish “indigenous” to the stream is still necessary if the species is to thrive or even to survive.
There is, however, still another reason why the dams should not be by-passed by mere waterways or fish, passages and that is this would waste a great deal of the impounded water for whose conservation the dams were built.
SO FISH LADDERS are merely a succession of pools with a mere trickle of water between each and with but a slight difference between levels of adjacent pools which are within the fish powers to leap.
It is also possible to build a series of miniature locks for the fish on the same principle that the canal locks are made. Such locks require only enough water from the higher level to fill the lock and so there is practically no flow of water required to maintain them.
The Barge Canal locks themselves may, so far as Fred Streever knows, be adequate for migration of the native fish during the season of navigation and the natural flow of the river may be sufficient for such fish migration when the river is closed for navigation and the locks left open during winter.
We suggest that those interested write Brother Rix at Ballston Lake who will, undoubtedly, be able to give them further information on this.”
Streever was a Bolton Landing outdoors writer who died in 1955. The Lake George Mirror did a nice article about Steevers see more at: http://ift.tt/1PBczIw