Yes they are and there’s some good news from the catch. Last Wednesday morning the Minnesota DNR was in the pool below the hatchery netting Kamloops [or loopers]. The big fish ranging from 5 to perhaps 8 pounds or more, were corralled in a seine net by the DNR fisheries officials. As it turned out, the exact Kamloops total from the netting was 673. Last year, a total of 888 Kamloops rainbow trout were captured at the French during the entire spring run, on par with the long-term [1992-2015] average of 884, according to the DNR.
This was the first step in the process to stock another year class of Kamloops rainbow trout along the North Shore about a year from now. Unlike steelhead, Lake Superior’s other variety of rainbow trout that reproduce and sustain themselves with only limited stocking, the Kamloops population is dependent entirely upon stocking.
The first eggs for next years’s batch of Kamloops rainbows will come from the adult females that were swimming inside the seine net on Wednesday morning. DNR employees used dip nets to scoop rainbows out of the seine net and load them into the waiting bucket of a small front-end loader. The loader hauled the fish up the hill to the French River fisheries building, where eggs will be stripped from the fish and fertilized.
About twice a week from now until June, DNR fisheries workers will seine this pool near the mouth of the French River and collect eggs from adult rainbows. Later , the young fish that emerge from eggs will be transferred to one of two DNR hatcheries. After eggs have been collected from the adult Kamloops rainbows captured on Wednesday, those adult rainbows will be returned to Lake Superior. Kamloops rainbow trout provide a unique fishery for anglers who fish from shore along Lake Superior, mainly from the Lester River to the French River.
After being raised in either, or in some cases both, the Spire Valley Hatchery near Remer and the French River Coldwater Hatchery near Duluth, the yearling Kamloops rainbows will be stocked in either the Lester River or at the mouth of the French River, fisheries officials said. The fish then typically spend three or four more years in Lake Superior before returning to the French or other rivers. Little to no successful spawning occurs naturally among Kamloops rainbows. I’ll be up next week to give it another try.