After rearing more than 100 salmon eggs to fingerling salmon, you think kids from two different schools would be sad to see their fish leave their life of captivity and swim free. Instead, the day’s outing outside the classroom was an event of many smiles and a bit of splashing in the Rogue River as they bid their charges goodbye.
The Grand River Fly Tiers funded the project where students from East Rockford Middle School and Union High School in Grand Rapids raised salmon for release in the river. Teacher Jeff Bryant, leading the Rockford students, said the kids learned about lifecycles of salmon and how the fish return after adulthood to the spot of their release to spawn.
The five-gallon pails containing nearly 150 salmon from ERMS and another 100 from Union were gradually tipped into the Rogue after kids made sure the water temperature in the buckets was identical to that in the river. Bryant said the kids now know that their fish will head downstream to the Grand River where they will find their way to Lake Michigan and live until adulthood. Once the adult salmon reach breeding age they will return to the exact spot where they entered the river.
The students from Union High School were also excited to have learned much during their months of caring for the salmon, and added a technology aspect to the project. They came armed with an underwater camera they made themselves, planning to try to catch a glimpse of the fish as they were released.
This is the second year the Grand Rapids Fly Tiers have sponsored this project designed to increase awareness of the area fish resources as well as increase the numbers of salmon in the Rogue River.