Old Man Winter has had its grip on us far too long, but now spring is giving winter a nudge and providing room for trout-stocking crews.

From here to the Cape trout are once again being stocked, to the delight of all anglers. It's been a difficult time for stocking crews as many of the ponds have had ice right to the shore.

Raising fish has been a real problem during the past eight months. Last summer biologists encountered drought conditions at the hatchery, then things got worse with the winter we just were handed, with lots of snow and cold, which froze the runways and pumps. The result was less fish production.

However, biologists managed to raise a large number of trout over 18 inches long that will be stocked in local waterways. I dear say no state in New England will be putting out stocked trout of this caliber.

The breakdown of trout to be liberated in the northeast over the next eight weeks is as follows: Rainbows over 14 inches, 195,000; rainbows 12 inches long, 71,000, browns over 18 inches, 500; browns over 12 inches, 43,000; browns 9-12 inches, 81,000.

Also in the mix is my favorite group, with 1250 brook trout over 15 inches, 31,200 over 12 inches, 38,200 brookies 9 to 12 inches, and 10,000 brook trout at 6 to 9 inches.

Waters stocked thus far include Forest lake, Ashland Reservoir, Whitehall, Jamaica Pond, Lake Cochituate, Silver Lake, Lake Pearl. Fort Pond, Comet Pond, Wallum, Uncas and Houghton's Pond.


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The rivers are getting back to normal and will be stocked in a couple weeks.

The second annual Rotary Fishing and Flea Market will be held on Saturday May 3, from 7 a.m. to noon at the All Saints Episcopal Church, 10 Billerica Road, Chelmsford. The cost is just a few bucks to get in and find some great deals. Hundreds of items will be up for sale from the dozens of tables that have been sold for the event. Show host Dan LeBlanc says the response has been great, a likely sellout.

The Stony Brook Fish and Game Club will have its spring fishing derby April 19 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. No license is required and the fee is $15 with a five-fish limit. The club is on Lowell Road in Westford.

The Westford Sportsmen's Club will hold its free fishing derby for kids on April 12 from 8-10:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to kids 14 and under. Some 1,000 trout will be stocked for the event. Call the club for more information at 978-692-4269.

The Nashua River Watershed will host a night of information all about the brook trout on April 15 from 7-9 p.m. Mass Wildlife biologist Jason Stolarski will give the presentation which is free. Between the NRWA and Trout Unlimited you could not ask for two better groups to help protect our waters for trout. The NRWA is located at 592 Main St., Groton.

Bill Biswanger's email is bboutdoor1@aol.com