MERIDEN — Children and families gathered at the Meriden Linear Trail on Oregon Road Monday eager to release over 100 trout into the Quinnipiac River.
The annual fish stocking by the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association drew a crowd despite the cloudy, cool weather.
“See the smiling faces, right here, this is what it’s all about,” said Peter Picone, conservation chair for the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association. “They get to see the conservation in action.”
Families from Meriden, Wallingford, Berlin and even Guilford came out, taking turns bringing buckets of fish ranging from 12 inches to 20 inches down to the river.
The rainbow, brown and brook trout were provided by Harding Trout Hatchery.
“It introduces kids to fish and hopefully fishing,” said Brian Harding.
For the last two decades, Harding has been participating in the event with Picone.
Harding drives the hatchery truck with the fish down the trail and hands out buckets of fish at each of the five stops along the river.
Recent rains swelled the river Monday, but it did not deter kids clad in rain boots from stomping around in the mud and water while waiting to release the fish.
A large 20-inch rainbow trout was transported to the river in a rolling garbage container with the help of several community members.
“We do see the same kids stocking each and every year,” Harding said.
He said sometimes the kids come back when they’re older.
“It’s made a nice impact,” he added.