May 22, 2013 —
On May 10th, the students at the Jeffersonville Elementary School released the brown trout fingerlings that they had been raising from eggs all winter long into the East Branch of Callicoon Creek. It seemed as if this was the most exciting day in the lives of these boys and girls since Christmas. Child after child received one of the little fish in a plastic cup filled with water. They carefully carried the cup to the creek and then slipped the trout into the water. It was surprising to watch as these fish that had spent all their lives in a fish tank immediately darted under a nearby rock to become hidden. Even trout raised in a fish tank seem to be hard wired to seek survival.
The program, called Trout in the Classroom (TIC), is not an attempt to stock trout in a stream. The aim is to teach children the necessity of proper habitat for the survival of trout. They quickly learn that if the oxygen content in the tank gets too low, the tiny occupants will die. If the water temperature in the tank goes too high the same result will occur. Good habitat for trout in both their tank and the waters of the East Branch of Callicoon Creek are vital for the survival of their fish. The Upper Delaware Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Jeff Bank are sponsors of this program. It should be noted that without the enthusiastic support of the teachers at the Jeffersonville School the program would not be successful. The teachers cleverly weave the TIC program into the more serious daily lessons that they teach the children. On trout release day it is hard for me to judge who is more excited, the youngsters or their teachers.
The 15th of May, I finally went fishing. Unfortunately within five minutes of stepping into the water at the Lordville Bridge I went for an involuntary swim. Fortunately, this did no damage to my rod or my person. It seems that I need to find some sort of flotation device that will allow me to both wade and fish but will also prevent me from doing these graceful swan dives into the river. Otherwise, sooner or later, either my rod or my bones may suffer from breakage. I’ll figure it out.