Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tantiusques Hiking

The weather has cooled off back to the 40s, which is perfect for hiking.  We went to Tantiusques (pronounced tan-te-us-quays) for a short trip.  It’s a 57 acre tract owned by the Trustees of Reservation.  Tantiusques is a Nipmuc word meaning “to a black deposit between two hills” and was one of New England’s first mining operations.  Originally it was mined for graphite to make ceremonial face paints.  In 1644 John Winthrop Jr bought the land to mine lead and iron and in 1827 Joseph Dixon mined the area learning about the merits of graphite.  He later went on to build a Mill in New Jersey and introduced the first graphite pencil. 

The tract is located on Leadmine Rd in Sturbridge.  You can easily get to it by taking the Mass Pike to exit 9.  Then merge onto I-84W and continue to exit 1.  Turn right on Mashpaug Rd and continue on for 1.5 miles.  Turn right on Leadmine Rd and follow it for .9 miles.  The entrance should be on the left.  There is 1 trail located on the property.  It’s a loop trail that can loop back to the starting point or dump you off farther up the road.  It’s a simple hike with the only elevation gain is when you cross over the ridge on the loop connecting trail.  When you first start off you are met with an open mine shaft that dates back to 1902.  I didn’t have a flashlight so I didn’t bother to poke my head in and look around, it’s probably for the best anyway.  Overall it’s a great piece of history and a calm hike, in total it was .82 miles.

For more info on Tantiusques click here.


View Larger Map

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

News: Herring Run Starting Early On Cape Cod

From the Cape Cod Times:

This year, when the first days of spring really feel springlike, it's not just flowers that are early.

Alewives, one of two Atlantic river herring species, have started their inland spawning migration weeks ahead of their usual time.

"Based on the warm temperatures, we decided to start our volunteers early," said Jo Ann Muramoto, senior scientist at the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and a member of the River Herring Network who coordinates volunteer fish counters at the Cape's herring runs.

The Cape doesn't usually see significant numbers of herring inland until early to mid-April. But reports began coming into Muramoto last week of fish heading upstream in runs in Mashpee, North Falmouth, Bourne, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet.

These were not just so-called "scouts" — individuals or pairs of fish that venture upstream as early as February and then possibly return to the main body of fish offshore for some unknown reason. This year, groups of up to 20 fish have been spotted in March.

After spending the fall and winter in offshore waters, sexually mature alewives gather in large schools around the mouths of rivers, streams and other estuaries waiting for water temperatures to reach 51 degrees. Blueback herring, the Cape's other species, don't venture upstream until water temperatures reach 57.

As they wait, river herring's bodies adjust to the increased flow of fresh water, undergoing physiological and other changes that maintain the salt balance between their body fluids and the surrounding water. Their gills change to retain salt instead of expelling it, and they stop swallowing water, except with food.

One big problem this year may be low water levels in the smaller runs, Muramoto said.

But that's just one of a multitude of things that have made it tough for a fish that once clogged waterways from Newfoundland to the Carolinas every spring.

River herring numbers have long been in decline from historic levels but in 2005 they seemed to fall off a cliff all along the East Coast.

The Bournedale run, the Cape's most prolific, saw 102,000 herring in 2005, just one-fifth the number making the inland pilgrimage in 1996. Those numbers were echoed all along the Atlantic seaboard and resulted in a coastwide moratorium in 2006 on catching alewife or blueback herring that now is in place at least until 2015.

Habitat loss, degraded water quality, clogged or obstructed inland migration routes, and overfishing have driven population levels down. Now some experts believe fishermen going after offshore Atlantic herring — the alewive's saltwater cousins — may also be catching river herring in the mix.

Next month, the New England Fishery Management Council will vote on regulations that could diminish the bycatch of river herring by the Atlantic herring fleet. The next public hearing on those proposed regulations is set for Tuesday in Plymouth.

Massachusetts has more than 150 man-made fish passageways — more than any other coastal state — to allow herring to reach their spawning grounds. The state Division of Marine Fisheries has its own fishway construction crew and has been working for more than 50 years to support anadromous fish — those that spend part of their lives in saltwater and part in fresh.

The federal government has also been active in helping towns to improve tidal flow and access into estuaries.

At Brewster's Paines Creek, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spent $1.67 million to widen a culvert from 3 to 18 feet. That helped restore water quality in 20 acres of marsh and helped herring to get to more than 400 acres of prime spawning habitat in the Stony Brook herring run. The $30 million Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project, with 76 projects in 15 Cape towns, includes many improvements that will benefit herring.

And, local groups of volunteers, often led by town-appointed herring wardens, have worked to clear old dilapidated runs, build new ones, overcome obstacles and improve water quality.

But all these efforts, including the seven-year moratorium, have done relatively little to rebuild the species.

"We're seeing a little uptick in a couple of places," said Brad Chase of the Division of Marine Fisheries.

The state and towns have been devoting more effort to counting and getting biological information from these fish, which may pay off with better population estimates, he said. But no one has seen any dramatic increase.

"Yet, we're very hopeful," Chase said.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crappie On A Bare Jig

After Friday's hike I got out for about 45 minutes on Ninemile Pond, in Wilbraham.  I was going to paddle and troll for some trout but there were two boats already doing that.  So instead of everyone doing laps around the water I decided to hunt down some Crappie.  There was a lot of action near a fallen tree that was 20' in the water, so that's where I started.  I could see the hatch has already started and a buffet of insects was on the water.  It's generally a tough deep bite with so many options on the surface.  I caught a moderate size bluegill and dropped the bare jig hook into the water a few feet so I can reposition the canoe.  As I grabbed the rod to reel it in I felt a jerk and there was a crappie.  It wasn't a pretty way to catch a fish but I won’t complain.  After I tossed the crappie I paddled to shore and packed up.  It was just good to get out in the canoe.  I haven’t figured out if it was the scent of the bait on the hook that might have been left over, the fact it was a red hook, or it was a defensive attack.  I guess it doesn’t really matter, a fish on is a fish on.

Photobucket

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chesterfield Gorge Hiking

Chesterfield Gorge is an area that can and should be enjoyed by everyone.  It’s not a strenuous or a long hike but the views are amazing.  If you have never seen a gorge then you’re missing out on nature’s amazing power.  The Chesterfield Gorge is a Trustees of Reservation tract and is easy to get to.  It’s only a few miles from yesterday’s trip, Petticoat Hill.  Follow along route 9 until you hit route 143.  Once you are on route 143 turn onto Ireland Street.  Lastly turn onto River Road and it’s right there.  It’s easy and you’ll see signs a few miles before the actual gorge.

Once in the parking lot there are essentially two trails.  The first runs besides the gorge and the second is a dirt road that runs all the way to an entrance to the Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest, and probably through it.  The trail that runs along the gorge eventually dumps into the dirt road after about half a mile.  The trail running along the gorge is the trail we took and it was a spectacular site.  You could take a step back and try to picture how the gorge was made centuries ago.  We walked the trail to the dirt road and continued to walk along the Westfield River.  We saw many great places to fish and we even saw someone fly fishing.  We walked to the start of the Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest then turned around and came back.  On the way back we stopped at a cascading stream that ran down off the hill into the river.  Overall it was a great place to visit with fantastic scenery and a hike that can be as long or as short as you want. 

There are a handful of old historical sites along the East Branch of the Westfield River.  At the start of the gorge trail you will see the High Bridge, that dates back to 1764.  The bridge was the crossing for the Albany-Boston Post Road over the river.  In the early 1800s the Marquis de Lafayette crossed the High Bridge when he made his return to the United States in a yellow stagecoach pulled by white horses.  The other notable parts of the East Branch of the Westfield River is the Unnamed Bridge, Nutshell, Baker Dam, Taylor Bridge, and Indian Hollow.  I didn’t get to view those other sites as they were scattered around the river.  I will go back to visit them all.

To view the Chestfield Gorge site click here.


View Larger Map

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Petticoat Hill

Today we visited Petticoat Hill, in Williamsburg.  Petticoat Hill is a 60 acre tract of land owned by the Trustees of Reservation.  It’s very simple to get to, just get on route 9 in Williamsburg and look for Petticoat Rd.  It’s right near the general store.  Petticoat Hill is actually on land that is owned by the Williamsburg Water District.  The Trustees own the land that Scott Hill is on.  With the help from the Williamsburg Woodland Trails Committee a new loop trail was created, called Locke’s Loop.  The trail helps to make a nice loop up and around the area.  The total hike is around 1.5 miles and compared to the trails in Mass it’s a strenuous hike.  I picked a rough day to go on a strenuous hike because the overhead display on the Dodge Ram read 82 degrees.  I don’t like to hike when it’s over 75 degrees but I decided to throw caution to the wind.  Usually you can find me on the water when it’s over 75.  

Petticoat Hill is one of the hills that raise over 1000 feet, similar to the Holyoke Mountain Range.  Speaking of the Holyoke range, in the 1800s from the top you could see the Range, the Connecticut River, and Mount Tom.  Over the years as the farms have dwindled the forest has grown up and blocked the views from the top.  Now you may be wondering why the name Petticoat Hill.  Well legend has it that the daughters of the farmer in the 1800s would hang their petticoats to dry and were seen for miles.

We arrived at the parking area at about noon and noticed right away that the parking is not truck friendly.  With a quad cab truck I had to angle my truck so I wouldn’t hog the whole area.  From the get go you hike straight up.  There is essentially two loop trails which resemble a figure eight.  We started with the intention of taking the left side of the trail all the way up to Locke’s Loop and coming around back to the truck.  The hike was steep at first then leveled out once you got to Locke’s Loop.  The loop trail walks along side of the mountain until you sweep around the back and make one final ascent to the summit.  If you decided to go this way be careful to watch for trail markers.  Since the trail is on private property there are other trails cut.  If you walk up to what looks to be a dirt road and a creek, you’ve gone to far.  Turnaround and look for the trail that goes up the hill.  We arrived at the scenic vista but with the grownup forest the view was blocked a little.  We eventually arrived back to the main trail and walked back to the vehicle.  Due to the heat and me being overly cautious about staying on trail I didn’t get to experience all the trail had to offer.  There is an old cellar hole that I missed.  If you’re strictly a “view hiker” then you probably don’t want to try this hike.  If you enjoy just being out in the woods and enjoy historical aspects of the trail then by all means give it a shot.  It’s a very good workout for a 1.5 mile trail.  On the way out don’t forget to stop by the general store and look around.

For a trail map click here.

For more on Petticoat Hill click here.


View Larger Map

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tick'd Off

There is a big negative to all the warm weather we’ve had lately.  I think we all know where i’m going with this.  Tick season has started.  I have seen the first tick of the year and spoken to others who have picked them off as well.  No one likes them, but with everything else in nature they do serve a purpose.  They help determine the health of a certain area.  Ticks attach themselves to animals such as deer.  If the tick population is high in an area that means it gets wildlife traffic.  If ticks aren’t present that means there isn’t much wildlife around.  They also are food for birds and bugs.  There are birds that actually see an engorged tick on a host and pick it off it.  How wild would it be to see a bird land on a buck and pick a tick off it then fly away.

The downsides to ticks is that they carry diseases that harm humans.  Each type of tick has it’s own disease it spreads.  The top two disease that they spread are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease.  The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever produces joint and muscle pain, dizziness, and seizures.  The ticks that transmit that are American Dog Ticks, Winter or Elk Tick, and the Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick.  Those are generally found in the southeast.  It is treatable with antibiotics but without medical attention it’s fatal.  This is New England so we only hear of Lyme Disease.  Lyme Disease is only carried by Deer Ticks, which are EVERYWHERE around here.  Lyme disease is likely to be cured if caught early.  If you see a Deer Tick on you the first step is to remove it.

The proper way to remove it is by grabbing the tick as close to the head as possible and pull it straight out.  There are also products on the market that assist with this if you don’t want to carry around tweezers.  I personally use a Tick Key and it works great.  That’s really the only proper way to remove ticks.  Do not burn them, grab them by their stomach and squeeze, twist when removing them, or grab them with your bare hands.  The head of the tick MUST COME OUT.  Properly clean the tweezers when you are done and dispose the tick properly.  I soak my key or tweezers in bleach.  We have a little cup we fill with bleach and drop the tick in to kill it as well.

You’ll want to watch the area closely for the next several weeks to make sure you don’t get any pain, swelling, redness, pus, swollen lymph nodes, fever, or chills.  A surefire way to tell it’s time to go to the doctor is if you get the bullseye mark around where the tick was.  If you see that go to the doctor ASAP.  The tick generally takes 24hrs to 36hrs before the bacteria is transmitted, so you shouldn’t panic.

Now let’s talk about prevention.  I personally don’t use the product i’m about to mention so I don’t have any first hand experience, I have heard good things about them though.  I tuck my base layer into my socks during colder months when I go out in the woods.  When I return I immediately put those clothes in the dryer, on high heat then go shower.  I put them in the dryer because heat kills ticks.  Before I shower I check every nook and cranny.  In the warmer months I wear longer socks that go 3/4 of the way to my knee.  Sometimes i’ll band the bands around my boots or ankles so they can’t sneak up.  Either way the same process happens when I come home.  Clothes in the dryer and I check myself and shower.  The only product i’d suggest is clothing that has tick “juice” built in.  Elimitick is the brand that makes them.  I’m not a big fan of Deet or any other chemical you have to put on you.  I don’t really think that’s the safest route.  Elimitick’s line is mostly camo but they do have cargo pants and a long sleeve t-shirt that you can buy.  There may be similar products out there but I know this one and have heard great things about it.

Hopefully you learned something from all this and remember to ALWAYS check yourself.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rock House Reservation

With the great weather continuing we decided to head out and do more hiking.  I, again, chose a Trustees place.  This time it was the Rock House Reservation in West Brookfield.  Like most rock formations, it was built by a glacier many many years ago.  There is much more to this area than just the Rock House.  There are many rock and boulder formations as well as a scenic view at around 1,000ft.  At the base of the land is a man made pond, there aren’t any fish in the pond but it’s a popular spot for frogs, turtles, and water snakes.  On the north side of the pond is an old hunters cabin.  We started by taking the Inner Loop trail to the boulder which met the Outer Loop trail.  We continued on the Inner Loop trail to Balance Rock.  After Balance Rock we took the Fire Road until we came upon the trail that leads to the Vista.  We almost walked the loop of the trail but the back portion, by the farmland, was flooded.  We were forced to turn around and walk back the way we came back to the Fire Road.  Once we got back to the Fire Road we took it East and then followed the Fullam Loop trail through a pine grove by the Butterfly Garden.  We saw a couple of butterfly’s flying around and waited for them to land before we could snap a couple photos.  Once the Fullam Loop trail lead to the Outer Loop we followed it until we hit the Fire Road again.  We followed the Fire Road south west until we reached the cabin.  After soaking up the scenery at the cabin we followed the Fire Road to the Rock House.  After playing on the rocks we got back on the Inner Loop back to the truck.  In total there are over 100 acres of land and around 3 miles of trails to explore.  We hiked 2.58 miles this trip and spent a few hours climbing rocks and hiking the trails.  Overall this is a fantastic place and should be experienced by everyone.  

Click here for the Trustees site for the Rock House Reservation. 

Click here for a trailmap.


View Larger Map

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quinebaug Woods

It is going to be such a nice week I decided to jam pack it full of outdoor activities to enjoy.  Today we visited the Quinebaug Woods, which is another Trustees of Reservation area.  I enjoy going to those area’s because they are very clean and well taken care of.  It was 61 degrees when the trip started with very little to no wind.  Take caution when looking for the entrance because it appears out of no where and you are apt to zoom right by it and have to turn around, ask me how I know.  It’s a small parking lot but very manageable.  The trail starts off by walking parallel to the Quinebaug River.  I tried to scout out areas and see if I could find any fish but wasn’t able to see any in the main current or the typical hiding spots on a river.  I did catch a quick glimpse of what looked to be a very small fish swim quickly from a steep bank pool to the center current.  

As the trail took us away from the river and gained elevation we saw what looked to be the remains of an old stone wall and an extremely odd shaped tree that was at the boundary line.  The stone wall looks to have held up very well over the years, they don’t make them like they used to.  As we continued down the trail we got a good glimpse of the various types of tree’s around us.  We continued walking and came to a fork in the trail.  I could see a chimney through the tree’s so we took the left trail which lead us to an old chimney from a cabin built in 1932.  As I inspected the fireplace and the surrounding area I couldn’t believe how the cliff became so steep and so close to the fireplace in no more than 80yrs.  If the erosion continues there won’t even be a chimney left.  We walked back to the fork and continued down the trail to where we parked.  In total it was 1.1 mile loop trail.  

Click here to view the Quinebaug Woods info website.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

News: MA's Saltwater Experiment

This state does a lot of crazy things that make you scratch your head but this boggles my mind the most.  I can see no other reason for this other than jacking up rates in the future.  

From Boston.com:

Pat Judge, an avid sport fisherman, has been walking around with a $500 check in his pocket for a week, trying to decide whether to cash it.

That’s because the money comes with a catch: Judge must agree to turn in his $10 recreational saltwater fishing license for the year.

In an unusual experiment being conducted only in Massachusetts, the federal government is surveying anglers to figure out how much it would cost to persuade Judge and 1,899 others not to fish off the coast.

But officials say the purpose is not to actually reduce fishing. Instead, they say, the survey is intended to measure the worth of recreational saltwater fishing to the estimated 1.2 million residents and visitors who do it annually.

The results could be used in variety of ways, officials say, such as to calculate the potential loss to anglers if an oil spill or other environmental disaster halted recreational ocean fishing.

But after years of government restrictions on commercial fishermen, and more expected because of plummeting cod stocks, some recreational anglers wonder if officials are up to something more sinister: revoking their right to fish. The no-fishing offer, which ranges from $15 to $500, is raising hackles among those who consider it another government assault on New England’s fishing industry.

“I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I imagine if you were in tough economic straits you would take the money. It’s not enough for me,’’ said Judge, who lives in Groton and owns a Provincetown home. “It raises certain ethical questions on whether it’s right for the government to be spending money to keep you from doing your hobby.’’

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has allocated about $145,000 to conduct the survey over the next several months, with about $75,000 allotted for cash offers, said Scott Steinback, a NOAA economist who came up with the idea.

Mailings are going out at random to fishermen who have registered for a 2012 recreational saltwater permit. Five hundred of those letters will include an actual check as an enticement to give up their permit, 700 will receive a hypothetical cash offer, and 700 will be asked how willing they would be to pay an amount other than $10 for their permit. The check amounts differ so officials can gauge the value people put on the right to fish.

Researchers will compare the rates of acceptance between the real offers and the hypothetical queries to evaluate differences between the approaches and to, ultimately, calculate the total dollar value fishermen place on the opportunity to cast their lines.

Steinback concedes that the survey and its cost are likely to result in puzzlement, or worse.

“No one has ever tried to do this before,’’ he said. “I knew it would cause turmoil here, but I think it’s worthwhile.’’

So why just Massachusetts? Limited funding and concerns about negative feedback prompted officials to restrict the study to one state, he said.

Checks can be cashed immediately, and recipients are asked to mail their permits along with the questionnaire, but the offer expires April 15. A letter accompanying surveys with checks states: “Please consider this offer carefully . . . we look forward to hearing from you soon.’’

Some fishermen say they were surprised by the solicitation, while others assumed it was a scam. They wondered, would a government so hard up for cash want to pay them to keep their rods and reels in storage? And why would they give $500 for a license that was worth $10?

Rumors about the government’s motives spread among saltwater fishermen once the letters started going out last week. Patrick Paquette, of the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association, said fishermen worry that the results will be used to increase permit rates. He added that the timing was poor, coming just a year after the state first began collecting fees for saltwater fishing. In addition to the $10 fee for a saltwater license, freshwater permits cost $27.50, and lobster/crabbing licenses cost $40.

“It began as a PR nightmare,’’ Paquette said of the survey. “People are watching and are a little paranoid.’’

On Tuesday, the state Division of Marine Fisheries issued an advisory confirming its collaboration with the federal government and “to attest to the legitimacy of this angler permit survey, including the cash offers that some individuals will receive.’’

State and federal officials say the survey will be helpful to regulators who may need to make decisions about allocating fish stocks between commercial and recreational users. It will be used in part for ocean planning and prioritizing competing uses, according to Nichola Meserve, a fisheries policy analyst at the Division of Marine Fisheries.

The state advisory promised that the results will not be used to increase fees for permits, but some survey recipients remain skeptical after receiving questionnaires that asked whether they would be willing to pay $55 or more for a license.

“This irritates me,’’ said Peter O’Neill of Shrewsbury, who got a survey with the $55 question.

Paying fishermen to stop fishing is not new for the US government. After the New England fleet became too large in recent decades, the government began buying boats from commercial fishermen and retiring their right to fish. But that kind of program has never been applied to recreational fishermen.

Some local fishermen have already started to cash checks, while others, including Judge, have held off. Volunteers are not accepted - earlier this week, a woman tried to exchange her husband’s permit for money.

Steinback is mildly concerned that there will be a run on permits from people looking for cash, something that could skew the experiment’s results.

“The odds of receiving a check for up to $500 from this study are surely greater than winning the lottery,’’ he conceded

In 2011, 125,777 people got saltwater permits. So far this year, about 19,170 have paid for licenses.

Dan Arieli, a Duke University professor of behavioral economics and author of the book “Predictably Irrational,’’ called the fish survey “a super cool study.’’

The moment people become owners of something, they tend to overvalue it, he said. Arieli conducted research on basketball tickets at Duke and found that people who had tickets to NCAA Final Four games wanted $2,000 to sell them, while individuals who didn’t have tickets were only willing to pay $100.

“I think it will be a really expensive intervention if you want to take fishing away from them,’’ Arieli said. “You will have to pry it from their cold hands.’’

Paquette said it would cost the government a lot of money to persuade him not to fish.

“A million dollars in cash,’’ he said. “Giving up that right is not worth anything less.’’

Old Town Pack Canoe 1st Paddle

It's been a dull winter here in Southern New England.  I wouldn’t even call it winter to be honest.  I’d call it an extended fall.  We had one storm in October and a few "storms" since then but the snow generally melts within a week.  That means the ponds and lakes are, for the most part, open.  The downfall is that the wind has been around 20mph with gusts of 30mph every day for the last month or two.  Today the wind was around 6mph and it was a warm 38degrees, so I took the Pack out for a paddle to get a feel for it.  I took a 240cm double blade paddle and a cheapo square wood paddle.  I paddled in some light wind and maneuvered between and around some thin ice chunks, which pissed off the local geese and mallards.  When trying to launch the canoe without getting wet it can be a bit tippy but once you get in and adjust yourself it’s smooth sailing, this won’t be an issue in the summer though.  With a solo canoe you generally want to paddle with an animal tail paddle (Otter or Beaver) or a double blade due to the short length of the canoe.  The double blade did the job well into the light wind and kept the canoe going forward.  With a C-stroke the cheapo square wood paddle kept the boat going straight as well.  The C-stroke just felt right while paddling.  I will only use the double blade when i’m trying to get somewhere fast or it’s very windy.  With an Otter tail paddle the canoe will be a dream to paddle.  I paddled both kneeling and sitting to test the tracking ability, which was good enough for a 12‘ canoe.  Overall it was a good time out paddling and learning the canoe for the upcoming tripping and fishing seasons.  I bought longer seat bolts to lower the seat since that was a common complaint of the Pack.  After paddling I don’t see the seat height as an issue.  Old Town may have lowered the seat for the new production models, but I don’t have an older model to compare it with.  

Photobucket

Monday, March 5, 2012

Early Stocking For MA Anglers

From the Mass DFW website:

Bay State anglers with their 2012 freshwater fishing license in hand can look forward to casting for over 522,100 feisty brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout by mid-March. These are sizeable fish; more than 73% of the fish will be 12 or more inches long. "We have some truly high quality fish this spring," observes Hatchery Chief Dr. Ken Simmons. "Growing conditions were aided by abundant rainfall, warmer than normal winter temperatures, and limited snow fall."

This year, due to the lack of snow and ice in many parts of the state, trout stocking will get underway in early March on those waters where ice and mud conditions allow safe access for the large stocking trucks.

"We'll be putting out 231,000 rainbow trout that will average 14 inches or longer, and 71,000 more rainbows will range from 9-13 inches," said Simmons. "Fish will be distributed statewide throughout the stocking season by our five regional Wildlife District staff."

More than 48,000 brown trout in the 12-inch category will be stocked along with another 61,000 browns in the 9 - 12 inch range. The larger water bodies will receive the larger fish and the smaller brooks and streams will receive the majority of the smaller-sized fish. Brook trout will be stocked in a similar fashion with approximately 45,000 fish measuring 9-12 inches, and more than 38,000 at a foot or more. Simmons noted that this year's crop of 2-year old brook trout production was another record high. Anglers can also anticipate trying to tame some of the 5,000 tiger trout to be released, all topping the 14-inch mark. These handsome fish, a cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout, have become popular with folks lucky enough to hook and land one.