Trout Unlimited effort improves area waterways for fish, anglers

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

The Canandaigua Lake Chapter of Trout Unlimited netted a grant for $9,000 through the Trout Unlimited national Embrace a Stream Grant Program.

New trees and log structures for the Cohocton River help improve the habitat for trout living in the waters.

This project primarily involves the placement of a series of nine log and boulder structures in the Cohocton River near Cross Road in Avoca, and the planting of trees/bushes adjacent to the river within the project area. This project will greatly improve the trout habitat within this 1,400 foot section of the river by restoring some of the structure that has been lost from the river in recent years due to extreme flooding. The project will also further the Canandaigua Lake Chapter’s ongoing efforts to reduce the negative impact increasing summer temperatures are having on the trout within the river.

Trout have trouble surviving when water temperatures exceed 67 degrees; consequently, since 2009 the Chapter has planted thousands of trees along the river to help shade and cool the water.

The new structures being added to the river will help to: increase oxygen levels; reduce water temperatures; create deeper and better holding and feeding areas; improve current flow and flushing of sediments; provide better protection from predators, both birds and animals; and add substrata and food for aquatic organisms which are used by trout for food.

The new trees and bushes will further help to shade and cool the river. The Cohocton River contains both brown trout and native brook trout; the brook trout are more adversely affected by the warmer temperatures and could be lost from the river if current warming trends continue.

The Canandaigua Lake Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been planting trees along the Cohocton River for years to help keep the water cool for trout, which struggle to survive in warmer waters.

The Canandaigua Lake Chapter has been planting trees along the river to reduce erosion and benefit the trout population for most of the last decade. The chapter received a $25,000 grant from the Millennium Stream Improvement Fund in 2013 and embarked on a Cohocton Watershed Shade Enhancement Project.

“Our past tree planting efforts have been very successful; many of the trees we planted are already helping to shade the river,” said Al Kraus, the chapter’s Conservation Chairman. “We have planted many more trees since we completed the Millennium Funding Project.”

This latest project will be completed in partnership with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District. Furthermore, to reduce costs and promote stewardship of the Cohocton River much of the work will be completed by Chapter members and local volunteers.

The Chapter greatly appreciates the Whiting and Reinhart families for providing the access needed to complete this project. Current plans are to install the log and boulder structures in the river in July 2021 and plant the trees/bushes in May 2022. This project will be of great benefit to both the trout that reside in the river and the many individuals that spend time enjoying this great natural resource. Anyone wanting to find out more about this project or Trout Unlimited can contact Al Kraus at

Embrace A Stream is a matching grant program administered by Trout Unlimited that awards funds to local chapters and councils for coldwater fisheries conservation. Since its inception in 1975, the grant program has funded more than 1,100 individual projects for a total of $4.75 million in direct cash grants. Local chapters and councils contributed an additional $14 million in cash and in-kind services to EAS funded projects, for a total investment of more than $19 million.