By Deb Everts
On opening day of trout season, avid fishermen flock to Randolph where angling is excellent along Little Conewango Creek. Downtown is a popular spot and nearby Elm Creek supports an excellent population of wild brown trout.
In New York state, trout season kicks off April 1 and runs through Oct. 15. The Randolph Fish Hatchery is one of 12 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) fish hatcheries and is a primary broodstock facility which handles five-six million brook, brown and rainbow trout eggs each year.
The hatchery stocks various streams and lakes in Cattaraugus, Allegany, Chautauqua and Wyoming counties with brook, brown and rainbow trout. Brook trout, or “brookies” as they are often called, are native to New York State and are the official state fish. Imported from Germany, brown trout were introduced into New York State and Michigan in 1883. Native to the Pacific coast, rainbow trout were introduced into New York waters in the 1870s. When they migrate from freshwater, on their way out to sea, they are called “steelheads” because they acquire more silvery markings.
Broodstock are adult fish kept at the hatchery for the purpose of providing eggs. Young fish, three-five inches long, are called fingerlings and are generally stocked in the fall. Older fish, six-nine inches long, are called yearlings and are stocked in the spring.
The hatchery strips the eggs, fertilizes and incubates them, and ships out the “eyed-eggs” to other hatcheries in the fall. Randolph keeps a portion and the rest are sent to other hatcheries in the state.
The Randolph Fish Hatchery is open to the public everyday, year-round, from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and is located at 10943 Hatchery Road, just off of Route 394, two miles east of Randolph. For more information, call (716) 358-4755.
For more information about trout fishing and to purchase a NY Lifetime License online to hunt, fish and enjoy New York State’s parks, go online to the NYSDEC website at dec.ny.gov and licensecenter.ny.gov.