BROCKWAY — If the fishing is good along the Little Toby Creek, students from the Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School may be the reason.
Unlike the Penn State Outing Club, this Outdoors Club still goes outdoors. It also stocks fish.
“This is a hands-on opportunity for the kids,” said Club Advisor John Hawkins. “They pretty much did all the work.”
Brockway’s Outdoors Club took nine young people to a stretch of the Little Toby that started around the Rails-to-Trails.
“The truck from the Fish and Game Commission was too big to fit into some of the areas we stocked,” Hawkins said. “So they parked it at the football field and we transferred the fish to tanks in the smaller trucks.”
The Outing Club stocked rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The Fish Commission netted the fish out of the tanks on the big truck, the students took that net and released the fish into the tanks. After the smaller trucks were driven to the stream, the students netted the fish out and released them into the water.
“There were hills with big drops to the water, so we created a chain of kids the whole way down,” Hawkins said. “No one was afraid. If a fish fell out onto the ground, they jumped to grab it. The kids were all about it.”
The nine students were from various grades. Hawkins is very selective of who gets to join, looking for “model citizens.” When the kids earn their spot, they get invited back each year. This trip had eight boys and one girl.
“It was very cold, but a lot of fun,” sophomore Lainee Swanson, the lone girl, said. “I liked seeing all the little fish. We have a good time in Outdoor Club. I wish more girls would go on these trips.”
Junior Garrett McClintick agreed on the fun and the weather.
“When you put the net in the stock truck, it would splash on you,” he said. “That was cold. But it’s very fun.”
Hawkins said that it was a lot of work, stocking the stream almost to Ridgeway. He said the students ate lunch in the truck on the way to the stream.
“People don’t realize how much work it is to stock steams,” Hawkins said. “It’s a real community service. In Outdoor Club, we tell the kids to explore the area and fish. It’s a blast.”