New Castle News

March 3, 2014

Trout stocking becomes tossing in Volant

Lauren Rearick
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — While a snowstorm slowly made its way to the area, one annual event signaled the approach of spring for some.

A little more than 300 attendees made their way through leftover snow and ice to the banks of Neshannock Creek in Volant for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s annual trout stocking event.

Though Saturday’s temperatures were mild, the winter’s previous cold did cause some changes to the event.

Typically, Laurel Conservation Club members and volunteers row float barrels contain fish further down stream, but the conditions of Neshannock Creek provided  a challenge.

“There are no canoes this year because the ice is too bad,” Austin Green, president of the Laurel Conservation Club said. “Several parts of the stream are impassable for fish and boats.”

This year, club members stayed on the shores, helping to toss fish over ice that lined the banks, and hand buckets to eager children waiting to carry a bucket of their own.

Children of all ages, along with family members and fishing fans, watched from neighboring bridges, the banks and Volant businesses.

For some, it’s a tradition passed down among family members.

“I’ve been coming off and on for 15 years,” Greg Hamilton said. “I like to fly fish and we came over here because we enjoy fishing down here.”

Hamilton made the drive from Ohio along with his sons, Jack and Drew, ages 9 and 7, as well as their friend Addison Allen, age 6.

Along with the stocking event, members of the Volant Volunteer Fire Company held their annual buckwheat pancake and sausage day from beginning at 7 a.m. and lasting until 6 p.m.

Fire Chief Jim McConnell estimated that nearly 1,000 would stop in for traditional buckwheat pancakes.

“We usually start preparing more than a week in advance,” McConnell said. “We probably go through more than 250 pounds of buckwheat.”

The all-volunteer-run organization relies on this “oldest fundraiser” among other events to pay for much of its equipment and cost to run.

“We really appreciate everybody that comes out to support us.”

Whether there for the breakfast or the thrill of stocking, all in attendance looked forward to being there.

“This event sort of signals the start of trout season,” Green said. “Everybody is always looking forward to it.”

Neshannock Creek Outfitters also will stock the river with lunker trout Saturday.

Trout season will open statewide at 8 a.m. April 12.