TWRA releases rainbow trout in Reelfoot pond
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter
By JOHN BRANNON
Messenger Staff Reporter
What is characterized by a state wildlife official as a “put and take fishing opportunity” may provide a delicacy rare to West Tennessee dinner tables — rainbow trout.
At 10:30 a.m. today, two Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency pickup trucks and trailers with fish tanks arrived from Munford, where TWRA agents met a tank truck from Missouri to transfer a large load of trout for northwest Tennessee.
TWRA fish biologist Tom Pratt of Gleason and Nathan Warden of Jackson accompanied the delivery to Union City, where they were met by TWRA agents Michael Clark and Clay Boyd and Union City Mayor Terry Hailey.
The agents released 500 of the fish — most of which were nine inches long — into a pond adjacent to the former Reelfoot Packing Company located alongside West Reelfoot Avenue in Union City. The city has leased the pond for public recreation purposes.
Thus does Union City enter the “urban trout program.”
Hailey said he and others have been working with TWRA to join other West Tennessee communities in the program.
“We are happy to have this. It’s free to the public. You have to have a trout stamp from TWRA, but otherwise, anybody can come and use this pond,” Hailey said. “They can start right now, today.”
As far as traffic jams at the site, Hailey said there probably won’t be one right away but, as word of the program gets out, fishing will increase.
And restrooms at the site? “I don’t think there are any around here,” he said. “People have to deal with that themselves. We don’t have any restroom facilities in the neighborhood.”
The Union City site is just one of eight in West Tennessee to receive trout deliveries today. Martin city pond was to receive 500; McKenzie city park lake, 750; and Lake Graham in Jackson, 1,000, to name a few. All eight will be restocked in January.
“The urban trout program has been a huge success the last three years,” said Dave Rizzuto, TWRA Region I lakes biologist.
“This stocking program is strictly a ‘put and take’ fishing opportunity for West Tennessee anglers. Most of the rainbow trout released will be between nine and 13 inches long and will make excellent table fare.”
Rizzuto said a trout license (Type 022) will be required along with any other appropriate license, except for lifetime and sportsman license holders, for anglers 16 and older.
There is no size limit, but the daily creel limit is seven.
TWRA says some Tennessee waters support rainbow trout year-round, but none are in West Tennessee. “None of these urban waters will support them once spring arrives and water temperatures increase,” Rizzuto said. “Trout are cold-water creatures and require water temperatures in the 50s.”
Therefore, any trout left over, so to speak, will go belly-up when they can no longer tolerate the warming water temperatures.
Hence, the public is encouraged to come and catch ’em.
A rainbow trout grows at a rate of a half inch a month. It takes 24 months to grow them to good size.
The special permit required to participate in the fishing costs $18, according to avid outdoorsman Lanny Callicott of Union City, who manages the site for the city.
TWRA has 10 fish hatcheries at various locations throughout the state. The hatcheries produce rainbow trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish to stock state managed ponds and lakes.
The trout delivered to Union City came from a private hatchery in Missouri because the state hatchery that produces trout fingerlings is closed.
“I grew up eating trout,” Hailey said. “There was a group of people at Troy who went to Missouri and fished for trout. They always brought some back and we got someof them. They were delicious.”
Published in The Messenger 12.12.07