“When will you start stocking trout?” This question usually comes into the MassWildlife email box in early February. This year, with deep and long-lasting snow cover throughout much of the state, I noticed that this question didn’t get asked until March! Once we got one question, more inquiries came pouring in by phone and email.
Anglers with a serious case of cabin fever (and their 2011 freshwater fishing license) will be happy to learn that trout stocking trucks started rolling from the four state fish hatcheries the week of March 21 to waterbodies in central and eastern Massachusetts. By the week of March 28, all MassWildlife districts were stocking trout in selected ponds and lakes. Streams and rivers will be stocked a little later in the season when the high seasonal water flows subside.
I thought it would be fun to share some images from both the past and the present. Take a look at the stocking truck of the 1940’s. It’s not easy to see but, back in those days, fish were trucked around in milk cans—heavy and sturdy, but without any aerators to keep oxygen flowing. Imagine hauling the can down to a stream or river on a steep slope. Contrast this with the Bill Byrne image of the modern truck getting loaded at the McLaughlin Hatchery in Belchertown. Aerators and large tanks to swish a net make for an easier carry!
“What trout will be stocked?” Here are the “fish stats” on the statewide trout stocking effort. Keep in mind that the larger fish are stocked in lakes and ponds, while the smaller fish are located in streams and rivers.
- Rainbow trout—217,000 averaging 14-plus inches, 86,000 ranging from 9-13 inches
- Brown trout—51,400 measuring 12 inches, 92,000 in the 6-12 inch range
- Brook trout—26,400 averaging 12-plus inches, 51,000 fish in the 9-12 inch range
- Tiger trout (a handsome cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout) 6,000 fish
“Where and when will trout be stocked?” Visit the MassWildlife Fish Stocking Information page, where you will find links to the fish stocking schedule (updated every Friday) and the list of waterbodies receiving fish in 2011.
Now it’s my turn – “When are YOU going fishing?!” Grab your rod and catch yourself a tasty trout meal while enjoying the great outdoors this spring. Tight lines!