DNR Central Office - MARINETTE - Thirty-six thousand brown trout got an armed escort and a new, deeper water home on Monday, May 24, as state and federal fisheries crews joined forces in an effort to boost the fishes' ... More... MARINETTE - Thirty-six thousand brown trout got an armed escort and a new, deeper water home on Monday, May 24, as state and federal fisheries crews joined forces in an effort to boost the fishes’ survival in Green Bay. The fish were stocked at a larger size and in deeper water than normal, and other special measures were taken, to decrease the chance that natural predators such as birds did not prey on the fish during their release into the water and afterward, said Mike Donofrio, Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor in Peshtigo. “There’s been an increase in near-shore predators at the same time there’s been a decrease in the survival of stocked brown trout, so we’re trying this deeper water stocking to see if it improves survival, and in turn, the brown trout catch rate for anglers.” Walleyes and cormorants have both increased in the bay, although the department hasn’t been able to quantify the impact these predators might be having on brown trout populations. DNR shifts in production among hatcheries allowed the brown trout to grow larger than the size at which they are normally stocked in Green Bay. The fish were raised at the DNR Brule River State Fish Hatchery in northern Wisconsin and transported by DNR crews to Marinette, according to Tammie Paoli, DNR fisheries biologist for Marinette County. There they were loaded onto a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service research vessel and stocked in water 50 to 100 feet deep at three off-shore locations between Marinette and Sturgeon Bay. About 12,000 fish were stocked at each of the sites. The crew onboard the vessel was equipped with scare guns to frighten away birds and prevent them from preying on the fish during release, Paoli said. The scare guns, basically fire cracker guns that make a loud bang, were not needed because no birds were present during stocking. Hydroacoustic equipment aboard the vessel documented the fish immediately moved to the bottom of the bay, she said.