River steward keeps watch over Andro fish
POSTED AUG. 5-“It was all Rocky’s idea,” said Scott Stone, current president of the Upper Andro Anglers Alliance and Board member of the Mollyockett Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Rocky Freda, who passed away suddenly last August, owned and operated Sun Valley Sports & Guide Service and was a master Maine Guide.
He was also a staunch advocate for fly-fishing and conservation in the Bethel area. Stone, who enjoyed many fishing trips and long conversations with Rocky, said, “Rocky envisioned a collaboration between Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, local businesses (the UAAA) and other fly-fishing and conservation partners, such as Trout Unlimited, that would work together to create a sustainable, blue-ribbon trout fishing destination in the region.”
Stone is also on the Board of Directors for the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond.
After some discussion with John Boland at IFW and Ryder Scott, program director at Bryant Pond, he saw an opportunity for collaboration that could include an education and outreach component. As a result, the Upper Andro River Steward Project was established.
In May Kara Ray was hired by the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp as the river steward.
She is a senior at the University of Maine (Orono), studying zoology, and is also a Registered Maine Guide. After some training with Boland, Ray has been working with local IFW biologists, volunteers and angling groups doing research that includes angler surveys, collecting creel census data, and keeping a detailed record of fishing activity on the Upper Andro and some of its tributaries.
She has also been teaching lessons in fisheries ecology and habitat conservation, and coordinating service learning projects on the river with participants in the Bryant Pond summer camp programs.
Information collected by Ray will be used to help IFW work to bring the native fishery of the Upper Androscoggin River closer to Rocky’s dream of a sustainable, blue-ribbon trout fishing destination.
For more information on the Upper Andro River Steward Project contact Scott at 665-2935 or visit the UAAA website at: http://upperandro.com/magazine