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East and West Caroga join for fish stocking

Associations come together after more than 100 years

Passing boaters watch trout stocking by the East Caroga Lake Environmental Association on Saturday. Phil Addeo, a past president of the association, second from left, guides a youngster pouring fish into the lake. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

CAROGA — East met West this month as East and West Caroga Lake associations spent late morning Saturday stocking fish.

“This is the first time we have done it together,” said Christopher Cram, vice president of the West Caroga Lake Association.

For more than 100 years, the associations have worked separately stocking and caring for their lakes, he said.

Cram said small mouth bass were being stocked in the western lake.

East Caroga Lake Environmental Association was stocking 200 each of rainbow and brown trout 12 to 14 inches long, said Rick Mendetta, president. He added that the trout are big enough “so bass and pickeral won’t eat them.”

Skylar Shiavone of New Paltz gets an assist dropping trout into East Caroga Lake Saturday at the trout stocking by the East Caroga Lake Environmental Association. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation normally stocks the lakes with splake, a trout hybrid but sterile, he said.

Adding the trout “gives the public different trout to fish for,” Mendetta said.

He said his association bought $2,000 worth of trout after raising funds through membership fees and such events as chicken barbecues, pig roasts and ice cream socials. The association stocks periodically depending on “whether we have the money or not,” he said.

The trout were delivered by Avery’s Trout Hatchery of Gloversville.

Amy and Greg Avery filled up buckets with just enough fish so that children could carry and dump them into the lake with the guidance of Phil Addeo, a past president of the East Caroga Lake organization.

Jonathan Addeo of Long Island gets ready to pour fish in to East Caroga Lake on Saturday at the trout stocking by the East Caroga Lake Environmental Association. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Youths such as Lucas Goodman of South Glens Falls, Skylar Shiavone of New Paltz, Jonathan Addeo of Long Island and Braden Fennessey of East Caroga Lake were able to carry the buckets, sometimes with a little help, to the lakeside. Adults were on hand mostly to use their cellphones to capture their children dumping the frisky creatures into the water. At one point, a fish leapt from a bucket and tried to wriggle its way along the ground until an adult caught it with difficulty.

Stocking the lakes was the start of cooperation the associations hope to build on. Representing a total of about 500 households, the associations are “exploring ways we can use our voice” to be an influence on environmental and recreational issues, said Cram.

The increased saltiness of lake water and control of invasive milfoil weed growth are two of the issues the associations can address, he said.

The town is already dealing with cutting out milfoil using equipment bought with state funds. “Milfoil will take over the lakes,” if unchecked, rendering them unless for recreation, said Jed Potocar, a board member of the West Caroga Lake organization. The eastern lake is shallower and reportedly more at risk.

Research has also found that the lakes are getting saltier, which can create “dead zones” in a lake, said Cram.

Amy and Greg Avery of Avery's Trout Hatchery of Gloversville net fish for transfer to East Caroga Lake on Saturday during trout stocking by the East Caroga Lake Environmental Association. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Salt, he said, comes from runoff of winter road salting. “In the 1950s and 60s, nobody thought anything about it,” said Cram. “It’s just beginning to show its head.”

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