LITTLE ROCK – Cold weather means cold water, and that means the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is busy stocking Family and Community Fishing Program ponds with rainbow trout for anglers to enjoy.
"We're right in the middle of stocking up ponds across the state with trout from our Spring River hatchery in Mammoth Springs," said Clint Coleman, FCFP assistant coordinator. "Not only that, but we have special tags on some of the trout that anglers can send in to the AGFC to claim an extra prize. We'll also have a grand prize drawing for fly-fishing rods and reels, fishing clothes and other angling gear."
The FCFP also will host a special trout-fishing clinic at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Jan. 26, to teach people how to tackle the challenge of trout fishing and a special fishing event at MacArthur Park Pond in Little Rock from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jan. 28, to try their hand chasing rainbows.
"Many people hear 'trout fishing' and think it's too complicated to give a try, but nothing could be further from the truth," said Maurice Jackson, FCFP coordinator. "Fishing for trout can be as simple as a cane pole and bobber, or as complicated as hand-tied flies and fly rods, depending on how in-depth a person wants to get. For most of us just looking at having a good time and catching some fish to eat, trout are a great fish to target."
Anglers 15 and younger will get a bonus if they attend both the seminar and fishing derby the FCFP has planned. The first 50 youth anglers will receive a voucher for a free rod and reel they can redeem the morning of the derby. Youths do not need a license or trout stamp to fish in Arkansas, and the derby is free. Anglers 16 and older are welcome to fish as well, but they must have a valid AGFC fishing license and trout stamp, available to purchase at www.agfc.com. Anglers must bring their own bait and tackle, and chairs or coolers to sit on are strongly encouraged.
Coleman says trout stockings will run through February, but once spring rolls around the water in the ponds will be too warm to support these cold water fish. Then the ponds will receive channel catfish raised and grown to catchable sizes in the AGFC's warm water hatcheries. Visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing to find a local pond, see when it was last stocked, and learn more about the Family and Community Fishing Program.