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Electro-fishing the Stony Run

Tom Gamper began cultivating the fish population in the Stony Run at an early age. Gamper’s father Charles was on the faculty of Gilman School and Tom grew up on campus. “ I used to stock [the Stony Run] with sunfish caught from Lake Roland that I carried back to the Stream for catch and release fishing. They were my surrogate brook trout from boyhood summers in New Hampshire.”

Gamper is now a volunteer fly fishing evangelist with Maryland Trout Unlimited (MDTU)  who long envisioned a fishing and education event in his old stomping grounds. In 2014, that vision was realized with MDTU’s first annual Huck Finn Day. Each fall, Gamper and MDTU stock the Stony Run from Wyndhurst to Cold Spring with rainbow trout, introducing local children to the joys of fly fishing. Following the event, the Stream is open to licensed anglers of all ages.

MDTU has conducted two surveys of the Stream’s fish population by electrofishing, a technique that sends a mild, harmless electrical current through the water to temporarily stun fish and make counting feasible. DNR’s fisheries department uses electrofishing throughout Maryland and MDTU has assisted in this process on many streams.

County biologist and JHU professor Kevin Brittingham lead an October 2019 survey in the Stony Run. Walking the stream from Wyndhurst to Cold Spring, the team found 644 fish — creek chubs, black nose and long nose dace and 5 rainbow trout — as well as a handful of salamanders and frogs. Chubs and dace are naturally reproducing in the Stream, while the rainbow trout remained from stocking in past years.

According to Gamper, the data indicates “healthy biomass” in the Stream. Brittingham adds, “ the fact that we collected a handful of rainbow trout says something for the water quality and temperature of the stream. I was impressed with the physical condition of the stream with quality riffle and pool habitat and a favorable tree canopy for shading and cooler water temperatures.”

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