Stockers Make Trout Season Possible
After a long, hard winter, a 60-degree March day in Sullivan County is a welcome sight.
It is especially welcome if it happens to fall on the day the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks trout in the Little Loyalsock Creek between Forksville and Dushore.
On March 18, under perfect conditions, a small band of outdoorsmen gathered in Forksville to help stock 2,400 brown and rainbow trout from Tylersville hatchery into the cold, rushing waters.
The eight volunteers who joined Waterways Conservation Officer Kadin Thompson was a diverse group.
They came from as far away as Sayre and Mifflinville in Columbia County. They also came from Forksville and Wyalusing.
Whether from near or far, they all shared a life-long love of trout and trout fishing.
It is a good thing they were dedicated because, despite the comfortable temperatures, it wasn’t an easy day for the stocking caravan to drive or to carry buckets.
Many of the dirt roads on the south side of the street were extremely muddy, and one township road not slated for winter maintenance still had many spots with slushy snow.
Snow lined the stream banks or road berms, as deep as six-to-eight inches.
Anyone who has driven along Rt. 87 from Dushore to Forksville also knows how twisty and tight that stretch of road is.
WCO Thompson, in his safety briefing prior to starting on the stocking run, warned the volunteers to be aware of traffic for any stops along Rt. 87.
But the volunteers braved the conditions and enjoyed themselves.
Wyalusing resident Tom McAndrew made the trip to Forksville, where the expedition started.
“I’ve been following the trucks all over Sullivan and Bradford Counties for 15 to 20 years,” McAndrew said.
“It’s a beautiful day,” he added. “You can’t beat it.”
Three young friends from the Berwick area helped to stock.
Tyler Dilts of Mifflinville explained that he has a cabin near Laporte and very often fishes the Little Loyalsock.
“I’ll fish here on the first day,” Dilts said. “I’ll fish here all year.”
While Dilts had his friends—Josh Meske, also of Mifflinville, and Jared Hooper of Berwick—along with him, there was one usual member of the party missing. Dilts’s grandfather couldn’t make it this year.
“He had to work,” Dilts said.
Steve Szoke, Forksville, is a veteran trout stocker.
“I’ve been stocking for 10 years in Sullivan County and 25 years before that in Monroe County,” Szoke said.
A self-described “avid fisherman,” Szoke had another reason to travel along with the stockers.
As a member of the Loyalsock Watershed Association, he wanted to make sure the stream was in good condition.
“I’m keeping an eye on the stream for any effects from the natural gas drilling operations,” he said.
WCO Thompson explained that the Little Loyalsock was one of the very first stockings in the area.
For those who want to help with in-season stockings, there are still a couple streams and lakes to be stocked before Saturday’s opening day.
Today (April 14), the Little Schrader Creek will be stocked. The meeting place is on Rt. 414 in Leroy at 11:30 a.m.
On April 15, the Schrader Creek and Sunfish Pond will be stocked. Once again, the meeting place is in Leroy at 11:30 a.m.
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