The Native Brookie: A Dying Breed

Nevertheless, while small in number, native brookies do remain and there are ways to distinguish a stocked brookie from a native one, Preall said.

Stocked brook trout are often paler in coloration than wild brook trout.

They also tend to have blunted, damaged or missing fins from life in a crowded raceway and being handled repeatedly. Wild brook trout usually have undamaged fins that come to a distinct point.

Still, there are some stocked trout that are nearly indistinguishable from wild trout, Preall said, especially since hatcheries began using carotene (the orange pigment in shellfish, carrots, leaves etc) in the fish diet.

Old timers used to tell the difference by the color of the meat wild trout tended to be more pink than stocked trout. Not the case any longer stocked fish now also have a red tone, he said.

DEC also sometimes clips the fins of stocked brookies in special study waters, clearly setting them apart from natives.

The fin clips allow us to easily distinguish stocked fish and can be used to age the fish (there is a five year cycle for state-wide fin clips). The number of clipped fish has declined in recent years, however, especially in brook trout ponds, because DEC is doing fewer special studies at the moment.

Hope that answers your question Bill.

Take a kid fishing

I spoke with Brian Venne and he said that the date of Moriahs annual kids fishing tournament at Rowe Pond has been changed this year to June 9. Hosted by the Moriah Youth Commission, the event is traditionally held over Memorial Day weekend but was pushed back because of scheduling conflicts with numerous parents.

The event - held from 10 a.m. to noon - annually attracts around 250 children to Rowe Pond, which is stocked by the Essex County Fish Hatchery with 700 rainbow and brown trout for the event.

The $1,000 cost of the tournament is supported by local businesses and no child goes home empty handed. A $25 first prize is awarded and fishing poles, lures and related equipment are given away.

Also on June 2 the Ticonderoga Elks Lodge will be hosting its Take A Kid Fishing Tournament at the Lake Champlain Ferry Launching Site in Ticonderoga. The event is for boys and girls ages 7-14. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. For more information on this event call 585 - 2277.

John Gereau can be reached at johng@denpubs.com or by phone at 873-6368 ext 214.

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