Friday, October 16, 2015

Granger's Pond gets it trout; Buster rides shotgun for 12th visit

Buster, the massively huge but enormously friendly yellow Labrador retriever, is what his owner uses to determine how many times the Little Pickerel Creek Fish Farm has been stocking Lake Metroparks’ 33—acre Granger’s Pond with rainbow trout.

Since Buster is 13 years old and owner Dan Longnecker says Buster’s been riding shotgun since he was one years old, that means this is Pickerel Creek’s 12th autumn stocking of Granger’s Pond, Lake County’s largest inland puddle, and found within the 100-acre Veteran’s Park in Mentor.

The fish arrived earlier today, Friday, October 16.

“Buster’s my calendar and clock,” Longnecker said with a wry grin.

Contracted by Lake Metroparks to again stock Granger’s Pond, Longnecker hoisted net full after net full of rainbow trout from his special-purpose fish hatchery truck. These fish were then carried by Lake Metroparks natural resource unit staff to the pond.

In all, some 1,200 pounds of trout totaling about 1,100 fish were eased into the pond’s waters. The fish were given their freedom from the park’s wooden T-shaped fishing pier closest to the parking lot.

 “The fish average between three-quarters and one pound each,” Longnecker said. “There’s maybe a couple dozen golden trout with a few brown trout that got mixed in, too. But browns are mean fish; they’ll even go after the bass.”

Longnecker said the trout looked plenty healthy and took the ride from his Castalia fish hatchery to Granger’s Pond in fine fashion.

“A couple of them took bonks to their heads when we put them in but they’ll be fine,” Longnecker said.

Bonks to the head not withstanding; at least some of the trout were every bit as eager at being caught as more than 18 anglers were attempting to hook them.

Doing his best to catch the trout – and pretty much besting the other anglers – was Adam Regret of Mentor-on-the-Lake.

Regret had already caught and released three trout before any of the other fisher had taken their first fish. His lure tonic of choice was a purple-colored Blue Fox Virbrax in-line spinner.

“After a while the trout get used to seeing this Vibrax and I have to start using something else,” Regret said.
Longnecker said he also provides trout for both the Medina County and Cleveland Metroparks systems but that Granger’s Pond is one of his favorite go-to stocking venues.

“This is an outstanding area with a lot of fisherman access,” Longnecker said.

Tom Koritansky – Lake Metroparks’ natural resources manager – said the package of trout cost the agency $4,800 and added that the parks system does conduct a competitive bidding process to award some hatchery with the contract.

Thus if Longnecker ‘s bid is again the best one submitted next autumn, his Pickerel Creek fish hatchery will be making its 13th visit to Granger’s Pond.

Or about 91 years in Buster’s terms.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

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