HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. - On Tuesday, March 26, some dozen volunteers gathered outside the Brewster firehouse, their mission, on behalf of the Department of Environmental Conservation, was to disperse 4,300 fish into reservoirs located throughout the area. Led by George Knoechel, of Lake Carmel, the crew began their three-hour trip starting after noon, driving alongside a DEC fish transport truck.

Stop one was East Branch Reservoir, where volunteers quickly set to work loading buckets from the DEC truck and hauling them to the water. Croton River received the first intake, followed by more two stops a short time later when river temperature was also measured. A stop in Somers pumped fish from the truck into the river. Volunteers then went up to Route 22’s bridge over Croton, where the DEC truck ejected trout into the water below. Each stop on East Branch received 320 8- to 9-inch rainbow trout and 60 15- to 17-inch brown trout.

Knoechel next led the team to a great pond in Southeast, on the edge of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. Under its oak trees, volunteers took turns bringing trout to the pond. Finally, the crew went to the outlet of Boyd Corners reservoir near the Clearpool summer camp, and after more bucket dumping had concluded the day’s work.

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Sanitation was practiced by the team—dropped buckets were sprayed and washed, the fish hatchery’s trout loader wore gloves to prevent contamination, and dumpers took buckets by the handle in order to keep fish free from human germs.

Another stocking was performed on Thursday, March 28, when Croton River received four influxes of 150 rainbow trout and 310 brown trout, followed by 400 rainbow and 300 brown below the diverting reservoir. West Branch received 580 brown trout at the outlet to Croton Falls Reservoir; arriving at the reservoir site, a final 2,220 brown trout were added to the water system, for a day’s total of 5,340 fish.

Knoechel expected more than 9,600 fish to be added to the waterbodies during the two March trips, and roughly 30,000 by the DEC throughout the entire season.

The fishing season began April 1 for recreationists with a city DEP permit. Citizens 18 or older who need one can email to instantly apply for a watershed access permit. Residents without an email may request a water access permit application at the town clerk’s office and mail it to Access Permits, 71 Smith Ave., Kingston, NY, 12401. Expect around two weeks for processing.

Article courtesy of James Carmody, resource engineer student