Mountain Springs Trout Farm
  Arctic Char Restoration Project
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Please check back soon as it is hoped that some photos of the Arctic Char Reclamation Project will be shared on this webpage.

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For the past several years, Gary has been collaborating with Frank Frost, a Fisheries Biologist, and other members of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with the restoration projects at Big Reed Pond and Wadleigh Pond.  The Picards have always been more than willing to embrace any of the new state-mandated environmental regulations and  have had a good rapport with the state-run hatchery programs.  Gary was extremely pleased when Mt. Springs Trout Hatchery was asked to participate in the arctic char restoration project.

Arctic char are also known as blueback trout. They are a rare species of fish whose native population is only found in twelve locations in the continental United States.  Biologists became concerned when it was realized that Big Reed Pond in T8 R10 WELS, a remote area of Penobscot County, was losing its arctic char population because of the illegal introduction of smelts in the water.

The situation at Big Reed Pond became so critical that it was decided that a major pond reclamation plan would have to be set in place.  The biologists attempted to catch char from the pond and transport them to Gary’s hatchery.  These captured char would become the brood stock to help with the establishment of future generations of char. Gary also agreed to raise brook trout for Big Reed Pond.

A very time-consuming and energy-intensive plan was set in motion to reclaim the one-hundred acre Big Reed Pond.  Due to its remoteness, people are flown into the area by float planes.  It was decided that vast quantities of Rotenone would have to be applied to every part of the pond in October of 2010, to wipe out the invasive fish populations.  Frank Frost and several other employees of the Maione Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, several volunteers, pilot Igor Sikorsky, and members of the Army National Guard, with their Black Hawk helicopters,  assisted with the complex operation. 

In the spring of 2011, thanks to Gary Picard’s fish farm, six hundred arctic char (of seven to nine inches in size) were reintroduced to Big Reed Pond. A fascinating video about all the efforts that went into the reclamation project was produced by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  It is  entitled “The Reclamation of Big Reed Pond” and it can be  viewed on youtube.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has recently been busy with the reclamation of Wadleigh Pond, located in T8 R15 WELS.  It is a 157-acre pond with a similar scenario of illegal rainbow smelts competing with the arctic char for food and habitat.  In the fall of 2013, Gary Picard and biologists stocked Wadleigh Pond with approximately 650 char fingerlings, and 3,5000 brook trout fingerlings and two adult char.