Back in the late 1970's, a group of people decided to turn the East branch of the Croton into a river that would become a great place to enjoy excellent trout fishing. Bill Elliott, along with the DEC, and Trout Unlimited, turned a put and take river, into an excellent fishery in a very short time. We still enjoy the fruits of their labors today. The following is from a Facebook post that Bill wrote:
Michael Gann liked the ideas I came up with so he worked with me to get the department to move away from the normal stocking and go with the introduction of just fingerlings. I knew in my heart that because of the fantastic food supply available to these young Trout that they would flourish in their new home. In less than 3 years we were catching Browns that averaged over 18 inches and a few so much bigger than that. It was not easy to get the State to go along with something truly foreign but with working through the local Sportsman clubs and people like Michael, we got it done.
The key to this success was based on several things that all had to work together, the first thing was making sure that the river held the food supply needed to grow the fingerlings. The East branch had that and more, the second was once enacted we had to have the new regulations enforced or all our efforts would have been for naught. This was a problem I did run into with the local game warden telling people that if the poached the stream he wouldn't arrest them, he liked things the way they had been in the past, I got him removed. His replacement wasn't much better at first but after meeting me several times on the water and then seeing how well the fishery was growing he came on board with the new stocking program. I in no way did this all by myself, over the years that it took I received a lot of help from other chapter members and people who wanted to see my dream come true. This fall I will get to see just how well it still is doing.
A repost from my Facebook Page.
I also spent a truly enjoyable day with Hendrickson Spinner (Frank) a young man with a very bright future ahead of him. I made it back to see the river that took up so much of my time almost 40 years ago and had the pleasure of spending the... day with a truly fine young man who loves the East Branch of the Croton as much as I. I let the day pass and spent the time catching a few Trout and all the time relaying my stories of days past on that beautiful stretch of water. I came away with a new friend and the knowledge that with men like Hendrickson this river will have a bright future. a few photo's from that day.
by Bill Elliott