Trout stocking begins at downstate ponds

Season opens March 1

The DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife recently announced that its spring 2014 downstate trout season will begin Saturday, March 1, with the opening of two downstate ponds stocked with rainbow trout. On that date, Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond outside of Greenwood in Sussex County will open for trout fishing beginning at 7 a.m.

“As in past years, we plan to stock these ponds before opening day, and we plan to do a second stocking later in the month,” said Fisheries Administrator John Clark. “Again this year, as an added attraction for trout anglers, we will include some trophy-sized trout.”

Trout anglers planning to ply the waters of Tidbury and Newton ponds should note regulation requirements:

• For Tidbury and Newton ponds, a trout stamp is required from the first Saturday in March through April 1, unless otherwise exempted by law.

• Following the season-opener, trout fishing at the two ponds is permitted a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise restricted by area rules.

• The daily possession limit is six trout.

• Both ponds are closed to all fishing for 14 days prior to the season opening, with that restriction having gone into effect Feb. 15.

“These rules serve several purposes,” said Michael Stangl, Fisheries program manager. “Closing these ponds to all fishing for two weeks before the season provides a better opportunity to complete our stocking and eliminate incidental trout hooking mortality by those who may fish for other species. In addition, the closure gives stocked trout time to adjust to their new waters and spread out. The pre-season closure also eliminates any harvest prior to the opener and improves fair access to the fishery.”

Each pond will initially be stocked with about 300 pounds of rainbow trout, with an average size of 11 to 13 inches. Some “trophy-sized” rainbows — weighing 2 pounds or more and measuring well over 14 inches — also will be stocked. Plans call for stocking to be repeated Thursday, March 13, with the same amount of fish in each pond.

Newton Pond, a restored borrow pit, will be stocked for its sixth year. The 10-acre site was renovated using Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds and features a boat ramp for car-top boats and canoes, with no gasoline motors allowed, plus a fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access to allow anglers to spread out.

Clark emphasized the restriction to “car-top boats only,” since the ramp at Newton Pond was not designed or constructed for heavy vehicles with boat trailers, and vehicular traffic is blocked from using the ramp. Boat anglers are being urged to exercise courtesy and caution while operating near others fishing from the shoreline.

“With the exception of the two-week closure preceding trout season, Newton Pond is open for catch-and-release fishing for bass and bluegill. Beginning March 1, trout in both ponds will be fair game, and we encourage fishermen to keep these trout up to the limit of six,” Clark continued, noting that trout are a cold-water species and can only survive while water temperatures in the ponds remain cool.

Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Parks & Recreation, and anglers are being asked to be respectful of the vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. Newton Pond is owned and managed as a state wildlife area by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.

For more information about trout stocking, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries/Documents/2014%20trout%20stoc....

A Delaware fishing license is required for most anglers wishing to try their luck at trout fishing. A resident annual fishing license, which covers fresh and tidal waters, as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for anglers ages 16 through 64.

Those younger than 16 and residents 65 or 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 16 or older, a Delaware fishing license costs $20.

Both resident and non-resident anglers 16 or older 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 may visit www.delaware-fin.com or call 1-800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free FIN number.

In addition to Delaware’s normal fishing license requirements, most trout anglers also must purchase a Delaware Trout Stamp. For residents ages 16 through 64, a trout stamp costs $4.20. For residents ages 12 through 15, a youth trout stamp costs $2.10. Resident anglers younger than 12, or 65 or older, are not required to purchase a trout stamp. For non-residents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers 12 or older and costs $6.20.

All proceeds from the purchase of Delaware Trout Stamps are used to help purchase next year’s fish for stocking. The fishery also is supported by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds generated from anglers purchasing fishing equipment.

“Since the price of trout is not expected to decrease in the immediate future, the Fisheries Section is hoping plenty of anglers will come out this season to help support the program,” Clark added.

To purchase a fishing license or stamps online, visit https://egov.dnrec.delaware.gov/egovpublic/dnrec/disp?doc=publicsubmenu&.... Complete Delaware fishing information is available in the new 2014 Delaware Fishing Guide, available online at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries/Documents/2014%20Fishing%20Gu... or in printed form at DNREC’s licensing desk at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and from license agents throughout the state.

For additional information, 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.