Press-Republican

Gast

April 7, 2013

Brook-trout fishing an Adirondack tradition

As the 2013 trout and salmon fishing season gets underway, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has already begun stocking more than 300 lakes and ponds and around 3,000 miles of streams across the state with nearly 2.5 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout.

Ask any northeastern angler about fishing in the Adirondacks and you are certain to hear about brook trout, with their distinctive markings and remarkable fighting ability. To many an avid fisherperson, they epitomize the heart of the sport-fishing experience.

The clear, cold headwaters of Adirondack rivers and streams and the crisp, clean, oxygen-rich water of our lakes and ponds are home to the largest populations of brook trout in the state. They are also home to some of the largest specimens found in the Northeast.

“Brookies” were once common throughout New York, so common that early surveys ignored bodies of water where they lived, designating only lakes and streams where they did not exist. Over time, however, water-quality degradation, siltation, pollution, habitat destruction and the introduction of competing fish species have all contributed to their demise. But thanks to the management, restoration and maintenance efforts of individuals, scientists, sportspersons and environmentalists, brook-trout fisheries, many of which were previously degraded to a point where restoration was considered unattainable, have been restored.

Nonetheless, many heritage species have been lost to these conditions or to interbreeding with hatchery-raised species. Scientists at Cornell have been working with DEC biologists for years to identify and preserve all of New York’s strains of heritage brook trout. Only a few remain. One of these, the Windfall Brook Trout, developed as a result of rare environmental conditions that occurred approximately 12,000 years ago as the last of the glaciers receded. The species is exclusive to our area.

DEC generally releases more than 150,000 brook trout into small- to moderate-sized streams, lakes and ponds every spring. However, due to an outbreak of a fish bacterial disease called furunculosis at the Rome State Fish Hatchery, 131,000 brown and brook trout had to be destroyed. As a result, DEC anticipates stocking only 224 Adirondack lakes and ponds this year, 102 less than planned. A DEC statement notes that “many of the ponds not stocked will still have holdover fish from previous years’ stockings” and will “continue to provide excellent angling.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Gast
  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple sugaring season is underway

    Climate change has generally pushed back the season, but this year has been an exception, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Seed-starting workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension offers everything you will need to start a successful garden from scratch, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Addiction to energy has costs

    Damage to environment, climate change just two of the problems caused by runaway energy consumption, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Timber management has many benefits

    The use of applicable timber-management practices can help deer survive the winter, according to columnist Richard Gast

    February 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Flower life can be extended

    That Valentine bouquet doesn't have to be a fleeting memory, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    February 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Learn to deal with hypothermia, frostbite

    Prevention is best, but knowing how to treat injuries is also critical this time of year, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    January 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple School to be held

    Franklin County event will features classes on a variety of topics, maple equipment sales and more, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    January 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Kisses under mistletoe have ancient origins

    While it is unclear exactly which tradition started the Christmas practice, mistletoe has long held a place in ancient lore, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    December 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Moose returning to New York

    While other areas have experienced declines, the lack of certain parasites has helped boost local populations, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    December 15, 2013 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Native horticulturalist rescued Pilgrims

    Colony may not have survived without the expertise of a key Native American ally, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo