Though trout and salmon season may have opened on April 1st, the fluctuating temperatures have not made anyone in my family interested in early season angling. Though fishing may not be on my children’s agenda, a visit to the Adirondack Hatchery is always a springtime tradition. Each of the 12 DEC operated fish hatcheries raise specific species of fish, with the Lake Clear hatchery’s specialty being landlocked Atlantic salmon.
It was much to my surprise that in addition to the state-run facilities, two additional fish hatcheries reside within the Blue Line. Instead of being managed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the Warren and Essex County Fish Hatcheries are strictly county-owned. The Warren County Fish Hatchery is owned and operated by the Parks, Recreation, and Railroad division of the Warrensburg Department of Public Works (DPW) while the Essex County Fish Hatchery is maintained through the Essex County DPW.
According to Essex County Fish Hatchery Supervisor Chris Barber, the fish hatchery was originally managed by the state, but was sold to the county in 1982. Since that time, the small staff manages to stock 18 townships and 72 bodies of water with brook, brown, and rainbow trout.
“I’ve been working here for 21 years,” says Barber. “I’ve seen a lot of changes. This year we will be stocking about 52,000 fish throughout the county. People are welcome to visit.”
The Warren County hatchery opened in 1914, but was also transferred to the DPW in 1982. The 38-acre property located alongside the Hudson River provides picnic areas, a canoe launch, and play area in addition to the visitor’s center and hatchery buildings. Last year this county-owned hatchery stocked 17,960 brook and rainbow trout in over 29 bodies of water.
So much work goes into creating a healthy environment for locals and visitors to be able to recreate throughout the Adirondacks. My family and our visitors always seem to learn something new about the hatchery’s vital role in improving sports fishing and controlling fish population. Since we are a family of fair weather fishermen, we’ll wait for the snow to completely melt before casting our first line of the season. Until that time we’ll just have to visit the hatcheries.
Photo of the Essex County Fish Hatchery brown trout eggs hatched.