COUNTY – On Wednesday, the Wayne County Tourism Promotion Committee held the first of two ambassador tours, visiting the northern part of the county.
The guided bus tour was led by local historian Tom Kennedy.
“We want to share the wonderful history, heritage and culture of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said. “The intent of these tours is to acquaint you with all the great places we have. Our hope is that you can inform people [about these places].”
Participants toured the Wayne County Historical Society, had a walking tour of Honesdale (which included a tour of the Old Stone Jail, led by Fred Murray, and the Wayne County Public Library), visited the Varden Conservation Area, the Waymart Historical Society, Prompton State Park, the Pleasant Mount Fish Hatchery, the Equinunk Historical Society and Calkins Creek Farm.
Representatives were available from each stop to provide information.
One of the highlights of the tour was the Pleasant Mount Fish Hatchery.
Al Boyles, who has worked at the hatchery for 15 years.
The hatchery is a little over 100 years old and was constructed in 1903. It was originally called the Wayne Hatchery.
It was started “primarily as a brook trout hatchery program.”
“They raised brook trout to finger length size and they put them in milk cans,” he said. “They took them up the hill to what used to be an Agway. There were railroad tracks that used to go through there.
“They used to put the milk cans on the train. They would get them to the point of origin or point of destination and put them in the water.”
He said the Pleasant Mount Fish Hatchery has since converted to a warm/cool water hatchery.
“Trout are a cold water fish,” Boyles stated. “What we raise now are primarily are warm/cool water, which include muskellunge, tiger muskellunge, walleyes, everything but trout essentially.”
He explained trout need water below 65 degrees in temperature.
Boyles then gave a tour of one of the hatch houses.
“We start our season in early spring with walleye,” he said. “We do a lot of walleye spawning here. We spawn the walleye, take the eggs, take the milk and let them hatch out after 21 days.”
Then they are stocked.
“Life starts for most of the fish right here in the hatchery,” Boyles stated.
He talked about muskellunge and their life in the hatchery. He also talked about the tiger muskellunge.
These fish stay pretty still until they are ready to go after food. Boyles even put some feed in the tank so visitors could see how they move.
“They are top of the line aquatic predators,” he said. “They love to hide in the weeds and pounce on something as it swims by. They're built for a super quick burst of speed.”
There are feeders in the tanks that release food at timed intervals 24/7.
“As they grow we increase the feed size,” Boyles said.
He added all of the fish inside the buildings will ultimately be outside in the raceways.
“They reach a point where they get to a size where we need more room for them,” Boyles stated.
After touring the hatch house and learning about the process of when the fish get stocked, he talked about golden rainbow trout and brown trout.
Along with walleyes, muskellunge and tiger muskellunge, The Pleasant Mount Fish Hatchery also produces and stocks black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, channel catfish, fathead minnow, golden shiner, lake trout, largemouth bass, white crappie, white sucker, yellow perch, striped bass and hybrid white striped bass.
The Pleasant Mount Fish Hatchery is located at 229 Great Bend Turnpike Pleasant Mount, PA 18453. For more information call 570 448-2101.