A Morning on the Melosira

The University Of Vermont (UVM) has a 45' water bound laboratory, a research vessel called the Melosira.
On Tuesday, the 18th of August I had the opportunity to spend over four hours aboard this fantastic vessel. I was one of over a dozen Lake Champlain fisherman that were invited to go out on the lake aboard this ship.
The ship is piloted by Captain Dick Furbush along with his first mate Chris. UVM's Professor of Fisheries,  J. Ellen Marsden was aboard along with one of her students Seth.
The primary species for study on this trip was the Lake Whitefish with a secondary species, the Lake Trout. Approximately three hours before the boat departed the dock, gill nets were set to net both species.
The gill nets proved successful, with quite a few Lake Whitefish caught. Some of the specimens were said to be the largest caught in gill nets to date. Several were in the four pound range.
The Lake Whitefish were measured, weighed, and dissected for study back at the lab. Scales, a dorsal fin spine, and the ear bones were removed to age the fish. The stomach and digestive system was removed for analysis of the fishes diet. The fish were also inspected for anything unusual externally, mostly for signs Sea Lamprey attack.
The Lake Trout were measured, weighed, inspected for Sea Lamprey attacks, and also fin clips were noted. It was the hope of Ellen Marsden to find Lake Trout without fin clips. Fin clips identify a fish as being stocked, a fish that hasn't been clipped, would indicate a naturally hatched fish. Ellen went on the explain that finding a naturally hatched fish is a rarity. She explained that they have found many Lake Trout fry, but when they leave the reefs, sometime after hatching, they seem to simply disappear. It is one of the many mystery's she hopes to help solve.
After the gill nets were in and the catch was recorded and properly stored, Captain Furbush positioned the boat for a 30 minute deep water trawl. I recorded the results in this video:"Aboard the Melosira"

Lake Whitefish
Brown Trout with a large Sea Lamprey attached

The "Fisherman" Crew

I felt that it was quite an honor and a privilege to be invited on this fantastic trip. I learned more about Lake Champlain, Lake Whitefish, and Lake Trout in four hours, than I would have other wise in years of being on the water.
If you love Lake Champlain and fishing and you get an opportunity like this, don't pass it up!


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