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March 4, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Families flocked to Volant to tote trout for stocking in the Neshannock Creek

NEW CASTLE — Saturday’s frigid temperatures and intermittent snow didn’t keep the crowds away from Neshannock Creek in Volant.

A mass of families and fisherman lined up along the banks of the creek to be a part of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s annual trout stocking event.

“It’s always a big turnout. And across the road, the pancakes make the difference. That’s why we’re here. Don’t be fooled by this trout thing, it’s all about the pancakes,” joked Ryan Shevitz, Laurel Conservation Club Advisor, referring to an all-day, all-you-can eat pancake and sausage event across the road in the Volant fire hall.

The club provides the equipment used each year at the stocking.

“It’s like Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, waiting for Phil. We’re waiting for the trout,” Shevitz said.

Though the cold might be a deterrent for people, Shevitz shared that it’s ideal weather for bringing the trout into the creek.

“Once it gets into May and warm, it’s a struggle for the fish. The trout love the cold weather,” he said.

“Without stocking, we wouldn’t have any in our local streams here in Pennsylvania. They wouldn’t be able to regenerate themselves and repopulate. So it’s almost essential that the state gets involved.”

Heath Fabien has been helping with the event for the past few years. On Saturday, he made sure the canoes were ready to go, tightening the barrels attached to the sides of the boat designed to carry the trout out into the creek.

Fabien shared that while the canoes are taken into the water by workers from the Neshannock Creek Fly Shop, at the end of March there is a stocking event where kids in ninth grade and older can get into the boats and go into the water.

Over the years, the stocking has remained a family affair.

“It’s neat for the kids, first chance to see the trout hitting the waters,” Shevitz said. “It’s family-oriented, too.

“(Kids get involved) through generations of fisherman and outdoorsmen, aunts, uncles, taking kids fishing and it seems to stick. As the kids get older, they do their own thing, and you’ll see graduates of Laurel and people in the community coming back with their kids to this and they always call and say, ‘Hey, how can we help out with the stockings?’ ”

Patrick Polaski, 11, and his family were one of many observing the trout stocking, attending the event for the second time.

“(I like) to get up close and personal to the fish,” he said. At 11, Polaski is already an avid fisherman, and has taken home trophies from many youth fishing derbies.

Also enjoying the day were Jakob Casagrande, 10, and his cousins Logan Corson, 8, and Wyatt Corson, 7. The three boys got a peek at the fish on the truck, then buddy-carried a bucketful of trout down to the creek. This was their first time at the trout stocking.

“They were cool. They looked rainbow-y,” Casagrande said of the trout.

The best word to describe their day?

Wyatt shared, “Awesome!”

Pennsylvania trout season opens at 8 a.m. April 13.

(Email: ncliving@ncnewsonline.com)

 

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