Fishing season will soon be coming to an end. And this year, more people than usual took part, helping to make sure there’s fish to catch each year in the one of the only county-owned fish hatchery in the state.

What You Need To Know

  • Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery was created in 1938
  • The Friends of Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery was created in 1994 to help maintain the hatchery
  • Ray Besecker is a lifetime member of the non-profit organization who helps kids and special needs groups fish.

Ray Besecker has been coming to Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery in Elbridge for about 30 years. But his love for fishing started long before that.

“My family loved to fish,” said Besecker. “When I was 3 years old in 1940, my parents and grandparents took me in Northern Canada fishing.”

Besecker spent 42 years as a navigator for the Army National Guard. He also worked for General Electric for about 30 years.

Now that he is retired, he helps keep the hatchery alive.

“Sometimes I come out on the bench here and watch the fish jump up and just relax and enjoy it,” said Besecker.

In 1994, he helped form the Friends of Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery. Their goal is to increase education about the hatchery, form and support different programs, and preserve it.

They’ve helped expand the hatchery too by constructing the Time Out to Fish Pond and adding wells to maintain the water supply.

“We continue to put a lot of nice fish in the streams in Onondaga County,” said Besecker.

Ray has dedicated so much time and energy to the hatchery that he was inducted into the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame in 2016. He was recognized for his participation in programs that teach kids and special needs group fishing techniques.

“I love fishing, but sad to say over the years, I’ve some issues that I just can’t get out like I used to,” said Besecker.

At 83 years old, he isn’t able to fish, but he can still enjoy the hatchery. And while the pandemic may have ended fishing a little early this year, the park is still open to explore.

“The park here is so restful and just enjoy nature and be around the outdoors and see the fish. It’s just a blessing for sure,” said Besecker.