Kewaunee Fish Ladder

February 17, 2008


Provided and copyright by: Peg Zenko
Summary authors & editors: Peg Zenko 

What kind of fish is this? It's an anadromous one. Anadromous fish are those that swim upstream to spawn. This determined brown trout is climbing up a "fish ladder" in its home stream of the Kewaunee River in Wisconsin. Its sense of smell has guided it back here to spawn, a behavior pattern imprinted early in its life near the “Buzz” Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility. At the end of this exhausting journey, there is an egg collection station that bolsters the state's extensive fishing industry, in which nearly 5 million trout and salmon are stocked each year. Most Wisconsin tributary streams lack the potential to support substantial reproduction; so adult trout and salmon are collected each fall and spawned here in the Kewaunee River Watershed, which is part of the Lake Michigan Basin. One of the most interesting features of the area is an underground Plexiglas viewing port. Here you can watch the fish line up and test the current to determine the best spot to jump. They use their tails and fins to generate the momentum to gain the next level. Many of them don't make it on the first try so they circle around and try again. Photo taken on October 6, 2007.