About Zachary Matson

Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

Reader Interactions


  1. Boreas says

    If it is to difficult to raise and stock heritage BT strains to their native headwaters, is there a possibility of sterilizing our “generic” BT hatchery fish so that they at least don’t dilute the DNA of more isolated heritage strains? If we are going to continue with put-and-take fishery management in many streams, perhaps it should be done with sterile BT. But I do not know about the feasibility of this action – just thinking out loud.

  2. JT says

    A couple examples of hatchery produced sterile fish are Splake (Brook Trout/Lake Trout) and Tiger Muskies (Musky/Pike). So it’s possible to produce game fish that are sterile by cross breeding. Perhaps some sort of mixture of Brook Trout/Brown Trout if possible. Not sure if this is possible mixing a Char with a Trout.

    • Boreas says


      I wasn’t thinking of a hybrid, but rather a hatchery-raised brook trout that cannot reproduce. The problem with hybrids is that they may be able to out-compete the heritage strains, as brown trout typically do now. Perhaps there is a way to chemically or otherwise sterilize the fish destined to be stocked in sensitive streams?

      • Scott says

        I believe Triploid is what you’re looking for. But why at that point why bother? Do we need more genetically manipulated fish being stocked over wild fish? Let’s just stop stocking anything be it sterile triploids or domestic brook trout or brown trout over wild and native fish and we won’t worry about diluting genetics.

        • Boreas says


          I agree with you. I am just not sure hatcheries could produce enough pure hatchery strains for each watershed. And if they could, would they be able to keep up with anglers keeping fish?

          I suppose the many heritage strains could be raised and stocked on some sort of rotation, meant to infuse the heritage watersheds with heritage fish every few years and make those streams catch & release. But historically, it seems DEC has been more interested in stocking non-native browns to keep the masses happy.

  3. JB says

    Note that while the designation of certain headwater streams as “wild trout streams” — and, thus, not to be stocked with hatchery fish — is certainly a step in the right direction, indications are that stocking of the headwater ponds that directly feed those streams will continue — even for those that are many, many miles from the nearest road. If the justification there is, as it has been in the past, that the remote stocking program is being done to reintroduce brook trout, for the ecosystem’s sake rather than for (virtually nonexistent) anglers, then this article would be one more nail in the coffin for the status quo. Stocking and wildlife translocation pose perhaps the biggest contemporary threat to endemic lineages, and heritage brook trout strains are perhaps the best example of uniquely Adirondack endemics that we have.

    • Scott says

      Stocking over native fish be it stream or pond is certainly something that DEC should discontinue. They seem to be moving in that direction, slowly. A cursory glance at the recent re-stockings of acid rain recovered waters doesn’t raise too many concerns about diluting stream trout genetics downstream but your point is taken.

      I’m the chair of the newly formed NY chapter of Native Fish Coalition and we will certainly be pursuing these kinds of policy changes with DEC and state government as a priority. If you live in NY and want to join, email me and I’ll get you started: NY@NativeFishCoalition.org

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