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Members of the Hopewell Fish and Game Association are proud of their fish. Trout, to be exact.

For 50 years, the association has been part of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission's Cooperative Nursery Program, raising fingerling trout provided by the state to adulthood and releasing them in public streams. And the trout the association raise are big.

"We've been raising trout here for 50 years, and in the co-op we've always had the largest trout," member Michael Males said.

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Males says the consistent, low water temperature of the stream that supplies the water to the association's raceway keeps the trout feeding for a longer period of time, allowing them to grow larger.

As members scooped up rainbow and brook trout by the net-full, it was easy to see the average fish was well over a dozen inches long, and all were fat. The scooped fish were loaded into a transport container and driven to an area of Muddy Creek near Airville known locally as Castle Finn.

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Members of Hopewell Fish and Game Association stock Muddy Creek near Airville. The Association has been a PA Fish Commission trout co-op for 50 years.

With the regional opening day of trout season this Saturday, the association's late stocking helps make more fish available for honest fishermen.

"We stock on the Thursday and Friday before (opening day), which decreases the numbers of fish that get poached out of the streams by people fishing illegally," Males said. The members continue stocking every Thursday evening through the trout season until their fish are gone.

Hopewell Fish and Game is actively seeking new members. For more information about membership, go to www.hopewellfishandgame.com.

Pennsylvania's trout season opens at 8 a.m. Saturday in the 18 southeast counties. The statewide opening day is Saturday, April 15.

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