Written by: Alberto Rey
Here are a couple images and a video documenting our recent outings into Canadaway Creek this past spring and fall. They featured a few children, community members and mentors from Sportfishing and Aquatic Resource Educational Programming (S.A.R.E.P.) Youth Fly-Fishing Program who were able to come help us in our efforts to repopulate Canadaway Creek with brook trout.
Our good friend, Mr. Steve Welk from Whispering Pines Hatchery, was on hand to provide a short lesson on the brookies’ distinguishing physical traits. Brook trout populations had been eliminated in the stream, but due to the program’s efforts and new initiatives by the DEC, we are now seeing brook trout throughout the stream and in tributaries such as Clinton Brook. Brook trout populations have been wiped out or greatly reduced throughout almost half of their historical habitat in the eastern United States, and their populations remain strong in only five percent of their original habitat.
In 2006, S.A.R.E.P. Youth Fly Fishing program made a large investment to try to rectify the situation by purchasing equipment to raise brook trout in a Fredonia Middle School science classroom and by doing additional fundraising to supplement the numbers of brook trout we were able to raise by ourselves. We have worked closely with the DEC and have electro-shocked the stream during the warmest months in the summer to find where the brook have survived. Thanks to these efforts, we have been able to find the coolest spring waters with a thick canopy in fairly inaccessible locations that are best suited to support the introduction of the these trout. With the support of the Orvis, Patagonia World Trout Fund, Dreamcatcher Foundation, and private donors, we have been able to continue our educational and conservation programming.
Alberto Rey is an Orvis-endorsed guide, an artist, and a faculty member in the Department of Visual Arts and New Media at the State University of New York at Fredonia.