A.G. Buller - Union City Fish Hatchery Stories
During the first week of June, 1905, Mr. A. Buller of the State Fisheries Department was in Union City looking for a suitable site for the new fish hatchery that the state planned to build.
Mr. W.M. Hubbell drove Mr. Buller around to several places that were seemingly well adapted for a fish hatchery. After going over the ground carefully, Mr. Buller told a Union City Times reporter that he was favorably impressed with Union City as a suitable location for the hatchery. Girard, North East and Waterford all wanted the hatchery site and The Times urged Union City people to get a move on if they wanted the hatchery in their town.
If the hatchery was located in Union City, the borough would have to donate the 21 acres of land to the state. "Let the Business Men's Exchange take hold of the matter at once, "the Union City Times urged. About a month later, in July 1905, the town fathers of Union City received a letter from Harrisburg. The letter indicated that the new fish hatchery probably would be located in Union City if the borough would comply with state requirements. The committee appointed to help bring the hatchery to Union City closed negotiations for 35acres of land for a site for the hatchery and raised almost enough money to pay for it. The Union City Times said, "There is no doubt but what the hatchery will be located here and work on the same commenced at once.
Two months from the time Mr. Hubbell drove A.G. Buller around to look at possible sites for the hatchery, Mr. Buller had an announcement to make. On Thursday, September 21, 1905, Mr. Buller welcomed Fish Commissioners Meehan and Whittaker of the State Fish Commission, and Mr. John Hamburger to Union City. The officials accepted the deeds for the land east of Union City recently purchased by popular subscriptions. The men said that work on the new fish hatchery which will cost$15,000 would start at once. The last state legislature authorized the establishment and location of the hatchery.
More than three decades later on Thursday, March 30, 1941 One of the biggest trout planting programs carried out in the vicinity in years was in full swing, with thousands of brown and rainbow trout being distributed in nearby streams.
The March stocking program from the Corry Hatchery exceeded 30,000 fish. Nearby streams which had been stocked during the past few days included the south branch of French Creek, the east branch of Spring Creek, and Beaver Run, where several thousand trout were planted. The bulk of the fish were brown and rainbow trout, although some brook trout were distributed.
Superintendent A.G. Buller reported that the stocking would continue until near the opening of the Pennsylvania season April 15th. Warren and Mercer County streams were also selected to be stocked from the Corry Hatchery, where the employees were expected to be busy several weeks more in the big trout distribution.
Thursday, June 25, 1942--- The Pymatuning sanctuary with its 2,500 acres of water churning with tons of fish is "Pennsylvania's Arsenal of Angledom." That is the opinion of Fish Commissioner C. A. French who stated the huge reservoir contained more than 64,300,000 gallons of water and is the world's largest natural fish hatchery. Almost two years old, the fish farm was first established to relieve the fish crowding the adjoining reservoir and has grown to a maze of dykes, criss‑crossed and sub‑divided by ponds and nursery hatcheries. Groomed for future quarry are tons of wall‑eyed pike, bass, yellow perch, catfish and sun fish. Pike eggs, formerly purchased from outside sources and yielding only a 50 percent hatch, are obtained from the Pymatuning reservoir and show a 90 percent yield.
In farming this section of water the fish commission maintains a year round schedule with net work being carried on from the time the ice melts in the reservoir in the spring until the water freezes.
Fish eggs for incubation are obtained from netting operations, which staked off spawning grounds, and afford breeding places for bass and other species. In addition, at least 20 tons of carp are annually lifted from the causeway which connects the reservoir and the hatchery, and are transferred to every part of the state.
Monday Mach 29, 1943--- Eighteen hundred rainbow and brown trout which were being taken to Venango County for distribution in steams of that district were lost when a large truck of the Corry State Fish Hatchery was wrecked just below Spartansburg Thursday. The accident occurred when a rear wheel sheared off. Ted Mulvin of Union City, driver of the truck, escaped with cuts on two fingers and a shaking up, but the entire load of trout was destroyed. The truck also was considerably damaged.
Thursday, April 8, 1943--- A.G. "Abe" Buller is 75 years old and as hale and hearty as ever, and just as friendly and congenial. And the day brings another anniversary to the superintendent of the State Trout Hatchery, near Corry, for it was just 51 years ago that Abe Buller began working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the Corry Hatchery. The Corry plant, first a private venture, was taken over from the Weeks brothers by the state in 1873.
After several years employment at the Corry Hatchery, Mr.Buller went to the Erie Hatchery for a term and then took charge of the Union City Hatchery when it was established. Along about 1914, he returned to Corry as superintendent of the plant and for the past twelve years he has been in charge of the Corry and Union City properties for the State Fish Commission.
Mr. Buller has not only seen a great development in the hatcheries here and throughout the state, but with his brothers, has had an active and leading past in the unique vocation. The Buller's have devoted their lifetimes to the states' propagation work in developing trout, bass, and other species for the stocking of Pennsylvania streams. Incidentally, Mr. Buller has found time to be active in civic and fraternal circles in the community.
In 1941 he was given the gold pin award by the Grand Lodge marking fifty years of membership in the Masonic fraternity. Mr. Buller has been a member of Corry Rotary for 17 years and is a past president of the club.
Monday, March 17,1947- --Before the season opens on April 15th Merrill Lillie, superintendent of the Fish Hatchery at Corry, announced today that the annual spring stocking program from the hatchery was well underway and will continue up until a few days before the 1947 trout season opens.
First consignments went out last Tuesday to streams in the southern section of the northern tier counties. These counties include Mercer, Lawrence, Jefferson, Venango and part of Crawford County while other counties getting their trout from the Corry Hatchery include Erie, Warren, Forest and McKean.
Deep snow still makes it impossible to reach many of the streams in the nearby districts but as they become accessible the fish wardens will notify Mr. Lillie and the shipments will be made. With each passing day hundreds of trout of legal size will be stocked which means they will be fully acclimated to stream conditions before the opening of the season on April 15th.
Tuesday's consignment for Crawford County was placed in Woodcock Creek near Meadville and totaled 1800 of the brown and rainbow species. All were of legal size and from six and one half to 11 inches in length. This year's crop of trout is said to be unusually good, being lively, thick fish with girth as well as length.
Monday, March 31, 1947---- Despite last week's heavy snow storm and the difficult traveling conditions on the highways leading to the streams, the trout stocking program is being resumed today from the Corry Fish Hatchery. With the opening of the season less than three weeks away, Supt. Lillie announced Saturday morning that it will also be necessary to work the three remaining Sundays before the season opens to complete the spring program.
Friday, a shipment of 1,200 brown trout was dispatched to Garland for stocking in the Brokenstraw and another 800 rainbows and 1,300 browns were being placed in the Little Conneautee in western Erie county. Saturday over 5,500 trout were stocked in the streams just east of the city. The South Branch of French Creek got 2,400brown and 950 rainbow while Beaverdam Run was stocked with 1,200 brown and the same number of rainbow.
Thursday, September 2, 1948--- Merrill Lillie, superintendent of the Corry and Union City fish hatcheries, has spiked the rumor that a muskellunge hatchery was to be constructed here. Since the start of the huge hatchery at Chautauqua Lake a couple of weeks ago the report that a propagation center was being considered at Union City had been widely circulated. However, Lillie declared yesterday that there has been no official word on any such contemplated project in this section.
In view of the State Fish Commission's previous reluctance to attempt the raising of muskellunge in this state because of the hazards involved in bringing the fish to the fingerling stage where they could be turned into state streams and lakes, the report has very little credence.
The talk of a Union City "musky" hatchery apparently stemmed from the fact that the foreman here had visited the Chautauqua propagation center several times during the past year.
It is also known the waters of the local hatchery would probably be more favorable than the Corry hatchery in case muskellunge raising is tried since the state has had better success with bass here than at Corry. In connection with the bass, Mr. Lillie revealed that stocking of the large mouth species will be started in this section shortly after Labor Day. Fish will be taken from both hatcheries along Route 6.