Stocking the Cocheco, Exeter, Isinglass, and Lamprey Rivers.
Providing opportunities to get people outdoors and enjoying our local rivers.
Providing volunteers for local educational events, and supporting our veterans by providing volunteers for Project Healing Waters
Three Rivers Stocking Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit tax ID 30-0477212 organization committed to private fish stocking on the Isinglass, Cocheco, Lamprey, and Exeter Rivers in southeast New Hampshire.
Around 2000, at the initiative of Great Bay Trout Unlimited, the NH Fish and Game Department made a rule change that opened the Lamprey River to allow a fall and winter recreational trout fishing season. That rule change initiated GBTU’s stocking of the Lamprey River at Wiswall and Packers Falls Dams.
Over the years, GBTU continued to stock the Lamprey River, and later the Cocheco and Isinglass Rivers. GBTU also sought to gradually change the state regulations, from keeping five fish or five pounds to the following current rules:
"Artificial lures only, single barbless hook, and catch and release; C&R season being from October 16th to the 4th Saturday in April of the following year"
The first year’s stocking was small, approximately $500 worth of fish. Within a year, however, a $5,000 anonymous donation was made. The same donor repeated this gift in the next two years, providing a very large stocking budget and allowing GBTU to put in $4,000 worth of fish each fall. This fund, called the "Jack Brock Fund," was to be maintained by donations from anglers who enjoyed the fishing on these rivers.
Unfortunately, donations did not continue on a regular basis. As a result, by 2006, the fund was nearly depleted. A special effort was made in 2007 to raise funds for the stocking program, but it met with limited success. In early 2008, GBTU discontinued its fall recreational stocking program. The decision was made in order to concentrate GBTU’s financial resources on more defined conservation related matters in line with its stated mission.
Three Rivers Stocking Association is Formed
Faced with a loss of this highly popular stocking program, five local anglers joined forces and
formed a nonprofit whose purpose was to obtain donations to continue stocking the three rivers.
In its first year, Three Rivers was fortunate to receive a number of generous donations. Waste Management contributed $2,200. Two other businesses anonimously donated $500. The five founders of TRSA pooled their money to contribute $2200 and approximately a dozen anglers donated $1000. As a result, a total of approximately 1,130 rainbow trout, ranging in size from 10 to 20 inches long, were stocked in the Isinglass, Cocheco, and Lamprey Rivers.
Starting in 2014 and up until 2017, we were lucky enough to receive supplemental stocking from
NH Fish and Game in late November of around 400 very nice Brook and Brown trout for the Cocheco.
Around 2017 we began stocking a section of the Exeter River covered by the same special fall/winter regulations that protect the other areas that we stock. As the support for this river has increased so has the number of fish stocked. It is proving to be a popular location for our local anglers.
In 2018 we were unable to stock the Isinglass River because the hatchery truck will no longer navigate the trail to the river. On a more positive note in 2018 we also partnered with Northeast Passage to provide volunteers for their chapter of Project Healing Waters. Thanks to our supporters were have been able to provide volunteers to assist veterans with fishing, casting lessons, and fly tying.
Our stocking program has grown tremendously. In 2019 we stocked 300 fish in the Isinglass River, 550 fish in the Exeter River, 1220 fish in the Lamprey River, and 1530 fish in the Cocheco River. The stocking of the Isinglass River in 2019 was conducted with the permission of Waste Management and using a vehicle provided by a Three Rivers Board Member. It was a different process than we were used to and was a success.
This increase has come from the success of our annual auction held each fall, donations from many anglers, and the generous donations of Kittery Trading Post, and Formax. Please see our supporters page, and support the many great businesses that support our efforts!