Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Field Trip: Fish Stocking

We had the opportunity yesterday to experience a NY State Deptartment of Environmental Conservation fish stocking at a local creek. They were stocking brook trout in a popular tributary very close to our home. So, despite the weather (30 degrees and half raining/half snowing), we donned our muck boots and jackets and headed out to meet the fish truck at 10am.

Never having done this before, we weren't really sure what to expect but I can say we felt like roadies taking off after the truck after each bridge stop. Nothing like the kids hustling into the car as I shift into drive at the same time the Honda Odyssey's power doors are closing! Fear not, we were all properly buckled and I didn't actually go anywhere until the doors safely shut. Crossing back country roads to follow the fish guy, it felt a little like Dukes of Hazzard only there were no spin outs and no Boss Hogg.I had to be quick. After all, the serious fish fans knew the next stop. It was likely their favorite fishing hole. We were just along for the show. And the mud.

First stop he just threw over the bridge himself. Until he unloaded some fish he didn't have the extra water for the bucket brigade.

J5 was all decked out in rain gear, but I made him wear a was snowing. And raining.

This was our first stop to handle the buckets. It was just near a bridge we cross frequently.

This was the moment of sweetness just before all.the.mud.

The big tanks hold the trout until they are put in the creek.

He is distributing fish among the buckets for the kids to help.

Here they are! The fish of the hour...let me just say R still doesn't like to touch fish and if one didn't quite make it, she'd watch it wriggle in. I was braver if I was around to help out.

I took a turn with two buckets and R was having trouble getting a clean shot. This slope was pretty slippery and that creek was cruisin'. We've had A LOT of heavy rain here and the water was moving too fast at this stop for me to feel comfortable about the kids getting too close. It was a mom call. Sorry kids.

E12 takes a turn tossing the bucket. This was our last stop- we bailed at the very last bridge simply because the younger boys were all done and parking on the "busy" road was not ideal for safety- for me and my four.

E12 learned an important thing this day- never stand still too long in mud. He would say he learned never to follow your mother's directions when she tells you to walk into a really muddy area next to a creek when it's been raining so hard for days. In my defense, the bridge was closed for work. Access to the creek's edge was limited.

Somehow, though they carried that bucket side by side...R10 had more mud smarts.

All in all a terrific field trip! I hosed off those LLBean snow boots (the boy wearing actual frog muckers had the least mud of all!) and I hosed off the Odyssey. Although we were mostly on paved sections of road, I would not want any evidence of the "muddin'" to be left on our ride.

Our Friday nature study will be devoted to the brook trout or trout in general so we learn a bit more about these lovely creatures. I also think we need to find out about how far they go after being thrown into the creek. Some of these bridges were only a few hundred yards apart. Do they travel far? Are there only certain sections of the creek that are fishable legally? I assume this is all fly fisherman territory when it comes to snagging trout.

But after our fish stocking road trip experience, my real question is...exactly how many bridges cross this creek before it empties into one of the many gorges and falls to the lake some miles from here? THAT would be a cool question to try and answer. This is the same creek on which we observed the eddies when studying Higgins Bend Song and Dance.

You might notice these photos are not a perfect picture of spring. Welcome to an upstate NY spring friends. I think all the wind and rain has blown the flowering buds off the trees so who knows what's happening to the maples right now.  All you readers with spring flower pictures and other visions of warm weather loveliness really give me a good laugh this time of year. Enjoy your spring! No matter what your weather!

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