MIDDLESEX TWP — The mood at Glade Run Lake was jubilant Wednesday afternoon as residents young and old happily carried bucket after bucket of live trout from the Fish and Boat Commission's special fish-hauling truck to the north side of the lake, stocking it with fish for the first time since 2011.
About 3,000 trout were put into the lake, which was closed in 2011 because of a faulty dam.
The Glade Run Lake Conservancy worked to garner the funding to have the dam and spillway rebuilt, and now licensed anglers can once again drop a line into the lake on the opening day of trout season, April 15.
About 50 people turned out to help carry the buckets of fish from the truck, down a small hill and into the hands of a state Fish and Boat Commission officer, who vigorously tossed the squirming fish into the lake to the delight of the crowd.
Every lake enthusiast who toted a bucket of fish sported a satisfied grin as they carried out their task.
“We never had this much support in previous years,” said conservancy board member Dave Fowler. “It's really good to see the community support.”
Cora Heusey, 6, watched as Fowler set a bucket down near her family and opened the lid.
“See all the fish? Look at that big one!” Fowler said.
While Cora initially shrieked at the sight of the roiling fish, she could later be seen carrying a bucket to the water all by herself.
“It's exciting,” Cora said of the trout getting their new home.
Her mother, Meredith Heusey, said the family has lived near the lake for seven years and has been watching the conservancy's actions since the 2011 draining. She brought Cora and her siblings Paige, 4, and Colette, 18 months, to the stocking on Wednesday.
“It's a triumphant moment,” said the elder Heusey. “Everybody worked so hard to get the lake open.”
Nate and Amanda Cypher of Clinton Township said they fished at the lake when they were dating. On Wednesday, they brought their 2-year-old daughter, Ava, to the lake.
“We brought her here last fall when there was no water,” Nate Cypher said, “and we wanted to bring her today with the lake all filled up and have her see the fish going in.”
His wife shared his sentiments.
“We are really excited to bring our girls here and build memories,” Amanda Cypher said, “like we did.”
Cindy Loncaric has been a neighbor of the lake for 36 years. She was saddened to see the lake drained, but understood that it had to be done for safety purposes.
Loncaric praised conservancy President Siggy Pehel for his hard work in leading the charge to have the lake reopened.
“It's awesome that a local person is interested enough to invest his time and effort,” she said.
Rob Dunlap is a 66-year resident of Middlesex Township and served as president on the board of supervisors for eight years during the 1970s.
“I watched this lake being built,” Dunlap said. “I've seen (the fish stockers) cut ice to stock fish.”
Dunlap looks forward to fishing in the lake again, and was sad to see it closed in 2011.
“I was really upset,” he said.
Sgt. James Smolko of the Fish and Boat Commission watched from atop a hill near the fish truck as the residents happily helped stock the trout.
“These small impoundments are a real benefit to the community, and especially to the kids,” he said.
Smolko said more species will be stocked in the upcoming months, including catfish, panfish and bass.
He stressed that all fish except trout must be released after being caught to allow the fish population to grow. The Fish and Boat Commission will determine when the catch-and-release period is over.
“It will be three to five years, or five to seven years,” Smolko said.
Meredith Heusey summed up the thoughts of all those who attended the first stocking of Glade Run Lake on Wednesday.
“Good things can happen when the community works together,” she said.
The conservancy will hold an open house at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Middlesex Township Volunteer Fire Company hall to share information with the public on the process of reopening the lake.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the lake.