Lake Trout Fisheries Restored in Rollins Pond and Lake Kushaqua
Rollins Pond (436 acres) and Lake Kushaqua (377 acres) were, historically, lake trout waters. Both lakes are located in Franklin County and are accessible through popular DEC campgrounds. Adirondack strain lake trout have been stocked in both lakes since 1996. Survey work in July, 2008, determined that quality lake trout fisheries have been restored to both waters.
Lake trout are believed to be native in Rollins Pond, but the population was extirpated when surveyed in 1929. Lake trout were stocked until 1958 when low dissolved oxygen levels were found in the hypolimnion and lake trout could not be caught. Sampling in the 1980's found improved water quality and that rainbow smelt had become established. Smelt are a desirable forage base for lake trout. Experimental stocking policies for landlocked salmon and lake trout were begun in 1996. A 2001 survey established that salmon were surviving in the lake. This July, in conjunction with netting being done for warmwater species to document mercury levels within the ecosystem, the deeper waters of Rollins Pond were netted for lake trout. A dozen lake trout ranging from 7 to 25 inches were caught. All the lake trout were in excellent condition. Rainbow smelt were also common in the nets. Dissolved oxygen levels were adequate for lake trout down to 55 feet, but were low from 55 to 65 feet. Stocking should be continued to sustain this population. Rollins Pond also proved to have an excellent smallmouth bass fishery with most bass ranging from 14-18 inches in length. Other species caught were yellow perch, brown bullhead and northern pike.
Lake Kushaqua is an impoundment on the North Branch Saranac River, but it was stocked historically with lake trout from the 1920's through the 1950's when the stockings were discontinued. An experimental lake trout stocking policy was initiated in 1996. In the recent netting, a total of 26 lake trout ranging from 6-26 inches were captured. As in Rollins Pond, all were in excellent condition. Rainbow smelt were found in the stomachs of lake trout that could not be released. Shallow net sets revealed that yellow perch are still abundant in the lake. Also present are rock bass, white sucker, longnose sucker, largemouth bass and northern pike.