Every year we get ready for the Spring fishing season, a lot of glamorous work goes into being a fishing guide. We get all of our gear cleaned and ready, waders patched, gear ordered and organized, and our flies restocked for the upcoming year. Another fun and totally glamorous job we have is stocking fish, and 2023 is no different. Once the water temperature gets a consistent 40 degrees it is time for rainbow trout stocking. These fish come from a local trout farm and they grow a number of trout annually for people to stock their trout stream or pond.
Why Stock Rainbow Trout?
One of the greatest benefits of stocking rainbow trout in a stream is the promotion of a healthy and thriving ecosystem. Rainbow trout are known for their ability to adapt to a variety of environments, and when introduced to a healthy stream with plenty of food sources, trout may thrive and grow to impressive sizes. We actually had several survive through the winter, including a couple large brooders that are pushing 26". This, in turn, can promote a healthy environment for other aquatic species, such as mayflies and caddis flies, which can provide an important food source for these fish.
In addition to promoting a healthy ecosystem, stocking trout in a stream can also provide a serene and idyllic setting for fly fishing and angling enthusiasts. Our stretch of private property ensures this wonderful fishing experience for trout anglers. Additionally no fishing license is required to enjoy this wonderful setting. There is nothing quite like the peacefulness of a quiet stream, surrounded by the beauty of nature, with the sound of the water trickling past and the occasional splash of a fish jumping out of the water.
When stocking a stream with rainbow trout it is important to understand the fish species already existing in the fishery. You never want to stock over the native trout of the area. Brook trout are native to our waters, and rainbow trout are more aggressive toward the native fish. Brown trout are even more notorious for overtaking streams, eating small fish and destroying fish populations. Summer water temperatures should be noted as well as ranges above 70 degrees make it hard for fish to breathe. Our trout streams are closed to fishing during the warmer months for better trout management.
Stocking Your Own Pond or Stream
Before stocking you are likely required to get stocking permits from your state fish and game agency or fish and wildlife service. They will want to know your trout stocking date, which trout species will be used for stocking, how many trout are stocked, and what body of water. They will also likely want to know which fish farm or hatchery you are buying from, or can provide you a list of where to get the highest quality trout.
Two things to note if you are planning on stocking:
-Pre-ordering from a hatchery is a must. Fish are generally ordered a year in advance.
-Once you release fish into a stream they are officially property of the state. If you have a navigable waterway these fish are considered on public property and able to be fished for and kept within the creel limit of department of natural resources. Stocking your own private pond is not applicable to state fishing regulations.
Stocking fish is a great way to provide a private trout fishing opportunity if you have the room for it. A good stocking plan and knowing the best time to stock is key to maintain a good number of fish. It is also a great way to boost trout populations and maybe you can raise your own trophy fish in your own pond.