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Division of Fish and Wildlife Set to Stock Trout for Start of Season

February 25, 2005

In preparation for the 2005 trout season, the Division of Fish and Wildlife will stock Tidbury Pond near Dover and Blockhouse Pond in Lewes on March 3 and March 17. Approximately 2,200 rainbow trout will be stocked in the two ponds - 550 each day in each location.

According to Division fisheries biologist Craig Shirey, Delaware’s stocking program is “Put-and-Take” since trout are cold water fish and can only survive until water temperatures reach 75o F. Anglers are allowed to keep what they catch, up to a daily limit of six trout.

“It’s not unusual to find people waiting for the truck,” said Shirey. “Catching these hungry fish can be easy, making the experience ideal for both newcomers to fishing and kids. The fish will bite almost immediately after stocking and typically will take a variety of baits.”

The average length will be 11 inches, but there also will be some “trophy-sized” rainbows or brown trout. The smaller trout will average about half a pound, while the trophies will be at least two pounds each and over 14 inches.

Trout fishermen are reminded that, in addition to the normal freshwater fishing license requirements, they also must purchase a trout stamp ($4.20 for those 16 years and older) or a youth stamp ($2.10) for boys and girls between ages 12 and 15 years.

Higher stamp and license prices apply to non-residents, but are still very reasonable compared to other states throughout the country, Shirey said. All proceeds from the sale of the stamps will be used to buy the hatchery-raised fish for next year.

Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Parks and Recreation and anglers should be respectful of the vegetation and the fences erected to protect the landscaped areas.

The Division is looking at a recently acquired 10-acre pond near Greenwood for the stocking program, hopefully by next year, said Shirey. “The site was a barrow-pit and we need to improve the parking area and do some grading to allow fishermen to spread out along the shoreline. We’ve tested the water and the trout can survive in there, at least while the water
remains cool, but we have some problems with shoreline erosion and access that need to be taken care of before we start stocking trout.”

Since its inception, the heart of Delaware’s trout program has been in the cooler streams of northern New Castle County: White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek.

This year, some 31,000 trout will be stocked in the upstate streams on nine dates beginning March 28. All of the streams will receive a heavy stocking prior to the season opening at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, and stocking will continue through April 21.

“The state’s trout stocking program suffered last year as a result of the drought we had a couple of years before,” according to Shirey. “Due to the low water levels throughout the region and low fish production, the price was sky-high. To remain within our budget, we had to cut way back on
rainbows and purchase fish from western North Carolina. Thanks to better conditions, this year all of our trout are coming from central Pennsylvania, and much better prices are allowing us to significantly increase the number of fish stocked.”

Details of the trout stocking schedule are available on-line (www.dnrec.state.us/fw) and schedules will be available at local tackle shops.

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