Albert R. Mann Library
Male landlocked salmon

The landlocked Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) was abundant in the waters of central New York prior to European settlement. Accounts by settlers in the 18th and early 19th century describe populations of salmon so dense that teams of horses fording rivers or creeks killed fish with their hooves as they walked. Less than one hundred years later, New York’s Atlantic salmon were all but gone, brought to the brink of extinction by the Industrial Revolution, their spawning streams blocked by dams and millworks, their waters fouled with pollution and sediment.

Programs to restore Atlantic salmon to New York State have been in place for decades. Current salmon populations in the Finger Lakes and their tributaries are maintained through annual stocking, as very little natural reproduction occurs.