By Sharon Space-Bamberger
BETHEL Last Saturday, members of the Sullivan County Conservation Club improved anglers’ odds of hooking “the big one” at Kauneonga and White Lakes.
The 120-member club stocked the lakes with more than 700 brown trout.
At least one Kauneonga Lake resident has his hopes high and his spinners ready. Christopher Van Loan watched closely as the club members released the hundreds of trout.
“I fish here all the time, my dad, Kenneth, is the dock master,” Van Loan said. “I’ll be out there today. I like to use spinners, they’re good for trout, but I use Mepps and worms, too.”
Stocking the waters of the lake with two names is an annual tradition for the Sullivan County Conservation Club, which was founded in 1928.
Vincent Lo Cascio of Monticello is the club’s treasurer.
“But I’ve been every officer we’ve had over the years, except trustee,” Lo Cascio said.
He remembers stocking efforts from previous years.
“We used to put name tags on the fishes’ tails,” Lo Cascio said. “If you caught one and called the club, you got $10. We named the trout after members we had Beaverkill Betty, Hook Jaw Hans, Dandy Dan and others. We stocked 18-inch fish then.”
According to Gary Shaver of the Beaverkill Trout Hatchery, the 700 brownies the club purchased for $1,500 were “around nine inches, some bigger.”
“They are a year, maybe a year- and-four months-old,” Shaver added.
Shaver carefully netted the trout in his truck’s two tanks and put them into buckets of lake water being held by volunteers.
Conservation club members Aaron Finley, Ben McKay, John Arias, Edward W. Bamberger, Ben Richards, Charles Greenhouse, Vinnie Lo Cascio, Bill Rittenhouse, John Van Etten, Lee Abplanalp and Steve Altman leaned over the lake and gently released their buckets of brownies. The trout swiftly swam away, seeking deeper and cooler waters on the 90-degree day.
The annual trout stocking is part of the Sullivan County Conservation Club’s mission to save our environment. After the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, the club members recite the following pledge: “We give our pledge as Americans to save and defend from waste the natural resources of our country, its lands and forest, its wildlife and its waters to the best of our abilities.”