When Ethan Borland learned he would be helping stock trout at Deer Lakes Park, he wasn’t thrilled. He had no idea what that meant.
The 9-year-old’s perspective would change as he held a white bucket full of trout to throw in the water.
“It was pretty fun,” he said.
Borland was part of Harrison’s Cub Scout Pack 186, helping the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on Saturday morning.
The scouts weren’t fazed by the unpredictable weather as they braved rain, sleet, sunshine and freezing cold to help get the trout into the water.
Cub Scoutmaster Dan Dobies said the pack has helped stock fish before. Covid stopped them from stocking last year, but Dobies hopes it will become an annual tradition.
The activity aims to “help them get out and away from ‘devices,'” he said, referring to video games and the like.
“I hope it will get them interested in fishing,” he said.
Eight buckets filled with trout were alternated between a dozen cubs and their parents to supply the park’s three lakes. They had two minutes between the trout in the bucket and the moment they were thrown into the water for their chances of survival to be high.
Amadeo Bolcato, 8, was excited. He had never stocked trout before.
“I just wanted to stroke the trout,” he said.
State Senator Lindsey Williams made an appearance to help provide lunch bags for Cubs and adults. She interacted with the scouts, asking them about their knowledge of state senators. It was the third time she had come out to help stock the fish, and the first time she had done so with Cun Scouts.
“It’s always great to serve the community and make sure our lakes are well stocked for anglers,” she said.
Waterways Conservation Officer Mike Johnson said the commission regularly works with school programs, organizations and other outreach efforts to raise awareness of trout conservation and stocking. Anglers are allowed to keep five legal-size trout per person each day during the season.
He said the commission was established in 1866 and has stocked more than 3 million trout statewide.
“We want to give people the opportunity to fish. They should go far north to fish for wild trout,” he said.