Well-stocked: Delivering fish in advance of trout season

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Lucy Harrison, with the help of her grandfather, Dr. Paul Bialas, dumps trout into Farnsworth Branch.

Several thousand trout were added to Warren County waters on Friday.

In advance of the opening day of mentored youth trout season — which opens Saturday, April 7 — and regular trout season — Saturday, April 14 — the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission held stocking in Farnsworth Branch and East Hickory Creek.

According to Waterways Conservation Officer Joe Underdonk, the commission planned to place about 3,000 brook trout in Farnsworth Branch, then 500 brook and brown trout in East Hickory Creek.

Prior to leading the convoy of seven vehicles away from Clarendon, Underdonk gave a safety briefing. The briefing was intended to keep both the assistants and the fish safe.

“You have to get the fish to the water as quickly as possible,” Underdonk said. “No more than two minutes.”

Participants were instructed to dump the fish out of the buckets rather than placing the buckets in the water and letting the fish swim out. Dipping the buckets could result in picking up contaminants and taking them into new waterways.

The volunteers put about 10 buckets of fish in Farnsworth Branch at each of 11 stops. There was only one stop on East Hickory Creek.

The second stop of the day was at the Thomas residence on Farnsworth Road.

Every year, Brion Thomas allows the commission to use his property for stocking. And, every year, Thomas allows anglers to fish in the Farnsworth on his property.

More, he cooks out and gives hot dogs and other food to his visitors.

“We done it every year for years,” Thomas said.

It’s more than a tradition. It’s a way to honor his father.

“My dad died the first day of trout when I was 13,” he said.

Underdonk said he appreciates the cooperation of land owners like Thomas. While he spreads the fish out as evenly as he can, he’ll try to get an extra bucket or two of trout for the Thomas location “because of this gentleman.”

The commission’s stocking efforts continue, even after the start of the season.

A schedule can be found at www.fishandboat.com.

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