FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — You can now “swim with the fishes” at Green Lakes State Park as the Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery has officially restocked the lake with 2400 rainbow trout for this upcoming trout fishing season.

The hatchery stocks about 100 miles of streams in Onondaga County as well as 10 different lakes and ponds including Green Lakes.

Trout stocking started on March 21 for catch and release but by April 1 — which is the opening day for trout season — everyone can catch and keep their trout from Onondaga County lakes and ponds.

NewsChannel 9 caught the action at Green Lakes and spoke to Eric Stanczyk, the Superintendent of Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery about how the process works.

“We have that reciprocal agreement. So we’re fortunate that Onondaga County has its own fish hatchery within this county and the state park. So we take care of it, we have been doing that for 50 years,” said Stanczyk. “We’re fortunate that we have this little gem within Onondaga County, our county executive in our administration made sure that this is continued, coming up on 85 years that we’ve been in continuous operation.”

Stanczyk said this year they are planning to stock 72,000 trout throughout Onondaga County lakes and ponds and they are already working on their fish stock for 2024 and 2025.

“We’re hoping that we’re gonna get all of our streams all the ones that are within Onondaga County that get trout annually. We’re hoping to have all those done before the traditional opening day of April 1 with about 25 to 30 percent of the fish and then after the season starts we’ll finish.”

According to the hatchery’s website, it was originally developed and operated as a joint venture between Onondaga County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under a Works Project Administration Grant.

This year makes 85 years that the Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery has been stocking fish for Onondaga County and they are one of only four county-run hatcheries in the state that do so. Continuously in operation since 1938, the hatchery produces over 70,000 Brook, Brown and Rainbow trout annually.

“We are one of the very few parks in New York state that has its own Hatchery. We raise our own fish there from eggs, raised them up so they’re big enough to release,” said Stanczyk. “The benefits are countless because if you look at not only the green space of the park itself and the hatchery itself but what it brings to the economy since we are one of the only county facilities in New York State that stock the fish. Other counties rely on the state to stock.”

The program also wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the volunteers as both staff and volunteers take “great pride” in stocking the fish. According to Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery, these efforts are necessary as they serve the region with the state’s largest per capita fish license sales, contributing to local fishing-oriented retail sales of $4 million per year.

“This program with stocking the streams in Onondaga County would not exist if it weren’t for our volunteers. We are in need of volunteers every day. We stock Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. We were very fortunate that this year, we had a great turnout of volunteers and we are full. We’ve already had people sign up for our program all the way into May.”

If you want to sign up to volunteer next year, Stanczyk says openings to sign up start in March 2024.