The following is a brief (maybe) summary of my last few days, highlighting the good, the bad, and the...
[If any replies could stick to the fishing aspects of my post that would be awesome, been dealing with enough bunk about the work aspect, thanks.]
So there is a small rift between our school board and the teachers regarding our expired/new contract. Unfortunately, in order to keep the negotiations moving along (state rules, not ours) we had to continue with a strike. We decided instead of picketing this time, we would do some community service, so last Friday, in the rain, I offered my services to the PA Fish and Boat to assist in-season stocking. I have never helped stock, so I wasn't sure what I was getting into. After meeting and following the trucks to the starting spot, one truck headed downstream followed by most of the other cars. I stayed with the second truck and helped carry a bucket to the creek. When I got back the truck, the driver asked if I was helping the entire length, which I was, so he asked if I would mind jump up on the truck to help him with the buckets from up there. The next few stops I helped fill up and dump trout, then more people showed up and I just remained with the truck. The driver was super nice and full of information and all the helpers were really friendly saying please and thank you, etc... It wasn't anything like the horror stories I had heard. Yeah, there were a few guys jumping right in with buckets to fish, but not like I expected. I was pleasantly surprised and they seemed very grateful for my help. Fishing mainly for wild fish, I never realized how much work the WCO and truck drivers put in to making sure we have trout in some of our streams, it was a refreshing take.
by Jason Weller
, on Flickr
Monday they were stocking again, and I arrived 20 minutes early, only to find 30+ vehicles at the meeting spot and guys actually rigging up in the parking lot. I talked with the WCO and explained I wanted to help, but I also didn't want to be in the way of all the "fisherman". Since it was a small mountain stream and a small road we decided, that although he appreciated my actions, perhaps another vehicle was not what was needed. We joked about just opening the truck up and giving each guy 5 fish and calling it a day! What fun is that kind of fishing? I decided to do a little mini-stream cleanup instead and picked up some angler trash on another nearby stream. (PS...I can't believe the amount of litter on our trout streams. All anglers should be ashamed, you may not leave it there, but that's not what the general public is seeing)
Seeing that circus, just made me appreciate their hard work even more. Imagine having to put up with that at every stop. I just don't get it! Hats off to all those PA Fish and Boat workers!