President Eisenhower & Furnace Brook
He was a five-star general and a popular two-term president, but Dwight Eisenhower was also an accomplished angler. In June of 1955, then President Eisenhower planned a little fly-fishing excursion at Furnace Brook in Chittenden, Vermont while on a tour of New England.
Members of the nearby Pittsford National Fish Hatchery caught wind of Eisenhower’s plans and spent the night before his arrival stocking the brook with 2-3 pound rainbow trout from the hatchery’s pools.
Unfortunately for Ike, conditions that day were not in his favor. The water level in the brook had risen, and the freshly stocked fish proved too skittish for even the most experienced fly fisher. He caught only a single, undersized trout and on his last cast of the day, broke the leader on his fishing rod.
The next day, after Eisenhower had left, local anglers got quite a shock. Oblivious to the clandestine stocking, the astonished fishermen reeled in trout after plump trout.
Ike, however, wasn’t too discouraged. When a local man apologized for the poor fishing, Ike replied, “Oh that’s all right. It was a hell of a lot better than sitting behind a desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!”
In 2009, the Pittsford Fish Hatchery was renamed the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Fish Hatchery in honor of the late president and avid sportsman who was responsible for securing funds to rebuild the hatchery in the late 1950s after his visit.
Back to Historic Tales