Man helps grow the big catch

April 29, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - When Harry Glass isn't putting trout into the water he spends his time trying to take them out.

Glass, 78, of Center Street, has the job of raising 25,000 trout every year at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club fish nursery on Franklin Farm Road.

Glass, chairman of the club's trout committee, said he spends about 14 hours a week at the nursery. The club pays Glass $100 a month. He gives half of it to Miles Sowers, another trout committee member, who helps care for the rainbow, brown, brook and golden trout.


"I like doing it," said Glass, who retired from Letterkenny Army Depot in 1975. "It gives me something to do." he said.

Glass also enjoys fishing for trout, which he does some afternoons after his nursery chores are completed.

Each June, the club gets 25,000 fingerling trout from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission at no cost. The young fish are put into pens according to species, usually about 4,000 each of brown and brook trout, 12,000 rainbow and about 25 of the rare golden, or palomino trout, Glass said.

The nursery, which has been around for at least 50 years, gets fed with 52-degree spring water. The unnamed stream created by the springs runs westward through the nursery and through several larger pens on the other side of the Franklin Farm Road bridge that holds bigger fish.

Visitors can feed the larger fish in the bigger pens in front of the Franklin County office complex with food from coin-operated vending machines installed by the club.

Every April club members start taking the 10-month old trout, now from 12 to 14 inches long, from the pens for their trip to Franklin County streams and brooks. The club has its own tank truck.

"We stock about 17,000 trout a year," Glass said.

The stocked fish include 13,000 of the smaller fish and another 4,000 lunkers that run up to two feet long and weigh four to five pounds. Each year the club gives about 4,000 trout of mixed species an extra year to grow before stocking them.

This year the stocking program runs from April 11, the day before the state trout season began, through May 11.

"We stock about 400 fish a day six days a week," Glass said. "We count them all because we have to report to the fish commission how many we stock and their species," he said.

Glass estimates that 90 percent of the stocked fish are caught. The rest become wild.

"They're easy to catch at first," he said.

That's because the water in creeks is warmer than the spring-fed water in the nursery, Glass said. "It takes them a few days to become active," Glass said.

Stocking days are popular with some area fishermen, Glass said. "Some days there's 20 cars and trucks lined up at 8 a.m. waiting for us to leave with the truck," Glass said.

"I wouldn't call them very good sportsmen," he said.

The club loses fish every year to theft. "They just come in here at night with a net, scoop up some fish, throw them in the back of their truck and take off," he said.

When the last fish are gone, club members start cleaning the pens to get them ready for the next round of fingerlings coming in June.

According to a Fish and Boat Commission spokeswoman, Pennsylvania released 2.6 million adult trout into 107 lakes and 780 streams across the state, including some in Franklin County, before the season opened. Another 3.6 million will be stocked during the season, which ends on Feb. 28, 1998.

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