Trout stocked for downstate Delaware’s 2014 season opener on March 1
DOVER (Feb. 28, 2014) – With patches of snow lingering on the ground and only hints of warmth from the sun, DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries staff met a large truck from Pennsylvania yesterday at the gates of Tidbury Creek Park just south of Dover. They lost no time getting to their task – to prepare Tidbury Pond for its annual rite of spring, the opening of downstate Delaware’s 2014 trout season on Saturday, March 1.
On the truck from Richland, Pa.-based Limestone Springs Preserve were large blue tanks containing more than 600 pounds of rainbow trout to be divided between Tidbury and Newton Pond near Greenwood. Veteran trout stocker Mark Zimmerman of the Fisheries Section directed the relay race from tanks to pond, swiftly transferring nets full of frantically wriggling fish into the cold waters.
The Fisheries crew formed a well-splashed team. While the Limestone Springs driver dipped fish from the truck tanks, Fisheries aide Sam Johnson, volunteer Mike Todd and Fisheries technician Nate Rust darted from truck to pond with full nets, a process repeated at three different spots along the half-acre pond’s slightly overflowing banks.
Once released, the fish quickly disappeared into the waters of their new home. Zimmerman and his crew watched for any fish that didn’t swim away, but most seemed to adjust easily to the 44-degree pond water. “The water’s nice and cold, and these are some lively fish!” Zimmerman said.
In less than an hour, almost 300 pounds of fish were released, plus about six to eight trophy-sized trout. Most of the fish averaged 12 to 13 inches long and weighed about a pound, while the larger trout measured at least 14 inches and weighed two pounds or more.
The remaining fish were transferred from the Limestone Springs truck to a large tank in the back of a waiting Fisheries truck for the trip to Greenwood, where an additional 350 pounds of rainbow trout plus six to eight additional trophy trout were released. Both ponds will receive a second stocking of the same number of fish in two weeks.
At 7 a.m. Saturday, both Tidbury Pond and Newton Pond will open for trout fishing. Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Parks and Recreation, and anglers are asked to be respectful of the vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. Newton Pond, a 10-acre restored borrow pit, is owned and managed as a state wildlife area by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, and features a boat ramp for small car top boats and canoes (no gasoline motors allowed), a fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access to allow anglers to spread out. Boat anglers are urged to exercise courtesy and caution while operating near others fishing from shore. Both ponds are temporarily closed to all fishing until trout season opens Saturday morning.
Anglers wishing to try their luck are required to purchase a Delaware recreational fishing license. A resident annual Delaware recreational fishing license, which covers fresh and tidal waters as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Persons under the age of 16 and residents age 65 and older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware, although exempt persons may purchase fishing licenses and trout stamps if they so choose to help support fisheries management and trout stocking efforts. For non-resident anglers age 16 and older, a Delaware fishing license costs $20.
Most trout anglers must purchase a Delaware Trout Stamp, with the exception of anglers younger than age 12 and resident anglers age 65 and older. For residents age 16 through 64, a trout stamp costs $4.20. For residents age 12 through 15, a youth trout stamp costs $2.10. For non-residents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers age 12 and older and costs $6.20.
Both resident and non-resident anglers age 16 and older also are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number. The free number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older, may visit www.delaware-fin.com or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free FIN number.
To purchase a fishing license or stamp online, click Delaware Fishing License. Complete Delaware fishing information is available in the new 2014 Delaware Fishing Guide, available online at 2014 Delaware Fishing Guide or in printed form at DNREC’s licensing desk at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and from license agents throughout the state.
For additional information, please contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Fisheries Section, at 302-739-9914, or the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s recreational licensing program at 302-739-9918.