Wildlife Watch: Filling Vt. waterways with fish

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BETHEL, Vt. (WCAX) "I have a passion for spending time outside," Adam Miller said.

Miller always knew that this was the job he was looking for to carry on a legacy.

"Grew up hunting and fishing, spending time outdoors," he said. "It's deep down in our culture and our heritage."

He's the fish culture operations manager for Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Miller and hatchery supervisor Jeremy Whalen are restocking hundreds of fish at Ansel Pond in Bethel. This time of year, they're busy driving tanks of hatchery fish around the state. In total, Vermont Fish and Wildlife will dump a million fish into local waterways.

"In the long term, it is to promote a conservation ethic," Miller said.

Fish and Wildlife says raising fish to stock local ponds and lakes costs about $3 million but it has a return from anglers of nearly $32 million. And Vermont fishing as a whole has an impact of over $100 million.

"Vermont is second only to Alaska in overall participation in outdoor recreation activities," Miller noted.

As the ice finally melts, neighbors near the best fishing spots know spring is really here when they see the fish stocking truck.

And as Miller helps fill Ansel Pond with brook trout, he hopes Vermonters get out there.

"Spending time with friends and family fishing, they draw a connection with nature," he said. "And it's that connection with nature that's gonna bring up the next generation of conservationists or people who care about water quality or fisheries."

Vermont Fish and Wildlife will stock dozens of waterways over the next few weeks. Click here to see the listing of all the locations that are ready and stocked.