Volunteers from high schools, sporting clubs, civic groups, and colleges, and individuals with a passion for rivers, fish, or fishing are needed to assist MassWildlife personnel in stocking 1.5 million salmon fry (juvenile fish) as part of the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon restoration program. Numerous stocking dates are planned in April and early May to release salmon fry into dozens of Connecticut River tributaries. The one-inch long fish come from MassWildlife’s Roger Reed Hatchery in Palmer and the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel, Vermont. Fry will be trucked to meeting sites where volunteers will gather and caravan to release locations. Utilizing people power, the tiny fry will then be moved from truck to water by five-gallon buckets. Click here for the Fry Stocking Schedule and details on meeting locations.
As someone who has participated in this aquatic adventure, here are some useful tips. You may get wet! A change of clothes is a good idea, as is a bag lunch. You need to be in good physical condition as you will be climbing up and down steep stream banks, toting a half-full, five-gallon bucket filled with hundreds of fry and wading through rushing waters. You will be walking hundreds of yards in slippery stream and river beds, so waders or other waterproof footgear is useful. There are a few waders to loan, but please bring your own if you have them.
I took the image of the rushing waters out on one of the tributaries of the Westfield River in April of 2005. It shows the kind of water you’ll be walking in and along. That day, on that particular stream, I was lucky enough to watch a mink exploring the shoreline opposite. I only got the tail end of the mink in my camera!