Northport Trout Team Brook Trout Release


Elias Giuliano, Contributor

After dedicating countless hours before and after school since last December to raising a tankful of 100-some odd Brook Trout, Northport Trout Team’s hard work has finally paid off. Their goal of helping to replenish Long Island’s dwindling trout populations has finally culminated in the release of these fish at the Charles T. Church preserve in Mill Neck. Mr. John Fischer, the Regional Technical Advisor for Trout in the Classroom (see the previous Trout Team article for more information) volunteered to assist with the release, and the Trout Team members opted to dedicate an entire school day to ensuring the release was done right. Led by Northport High School biology teacher/ecology enthusiast Mrs. Byler, the Trout Team is comprised of freshmen fish enthusiasts Isabella Vozza, Gavin Murdock, Madalyn Oliver, Phillip Mancino, and Maxwell DeBrino.


In the early hours before school on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018, the six members worked hastily to transfer the small fish from the tank they had called home for nearly five months into a small bucket for easier transportation. With some ice to keep the water cool, towels over the top to keep water from splashing out, and a small aerator to add oxygen to the water, the trout were ready for the release. The group — and the fish — then boarded a bus, and headed off to complete their eco-minded expedition.

The half an hour ride provided a brief yet amazing glimpse into some of the sights and scenes Long Island has to offer. Just of few these experiences included stopping to see a nesting bald eagle, admiring the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s multi-colored buildings, and passing the Trout Team’s place of origin: the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery.

Upon arriving at their destination, the team met up with Mr. Fischer, who led them along the serene, wooded trails of the reserve, and down to a small, crystal-clear freshwater creek. Along the way, Mr. Fischer made note of the fascinating flora and fauna that lined the trail– part of what makes Long Island’s woodlands so unique. Also noted were some of the characteristics that made the water so ideal for trout to flourish in. Soon enough, the team reached the final stop of their excursion– a cool, calm, free flowing creek with ample room for the bucketful of fish.

Little by little, the team members said their goodbyes to the trout they had raised from eggs, and had grown so accustomed to as an ever-present part of the classroom. The trout would go from a controlled, predictable environment within the confines of their tank, to being forced to brave the challenges of the outside world. Each fish seemed timid at first, as it investigated its new surroundings, but each eventually swam off to explore its new home. Once the group was sure each fish had been safely released, they headed up the stream to an unassuming sandy patch to unearth a few of the small creatures that the trout ate. The menu consisted of a number of different arthropod species, such as Caddisfly larvae, Amphipods, and Alderfly larvae. The group released the animals back into the water, with the intent that they would be carried within easy reach of the fish. After the group ensured the entire ordeal was completed properly, they returned to where they had originally entered the preserve. The Northport posse followed a trail down to a small dock for a lunch break, where a few lucky carp in the water below got to nibble on a couple slices of bread. The trout team returned to school just in time for the last few periods of the day.

Though seeing the tank– once chocked full of fish– now empty is a sad sight for the trout team, it also serves as a reminder of what they accomplished for the ecosystem, and that their dedication will help a struggling species to survive.