MUSCATINE, Iowa — Dozens of eager anglers lined the shores of the pond at Discovery Park, hoping to reel in a fresh, tasty trout.
They all came to watch and fish as the Iowa Department of Resources stocked up 1,000 rainbow trout in the pond, as part of its trout fishing program.
The Iowa DNR stocks more than 300,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout in 50 northeast Iowa streams each year through the spring and fall. The urban trout stocking program began in 2008 and Discovery Park has been included in it since 2010.
"We're doing this to give people that normally don't get a chance to go up to northeast Iowa to go trout fishing, an idea of what trout fishing is about and catching fish, and especially the little kids," said Vance Polton, who works in fisheries management at the DNR. "These rainbow trout are actually pretty easy to catch... It's a good way to get people in some of the bigger cities and towns a chance to experience trout fishing."
The trout are raised in a hatchery in Manchester where Aaron Schwartzhoff works. It takes the fish about 18 months to get to the catchable size.
"One of the most important things and I tell people a lot, because a lot of times, these trout are in crystal clear trout streams, so if you're walking up and if you can see the trout, they can see you, so you really have to be sneaky," Schwartzhoff said. "It can either be a hit or miss and just yeah, be patient. And remember if the water is crystal clear, you can't be running around doing jumping jacks or have your shadow cast over the water."
Half of the fish will be caught within the first week, Polton said. The other half is a little smarter and will take a few months to be caught.
Larry Porter was one of the fishers, visiting Discovery Park for the first time, to fish with his friend. The best part for him is getting to spend time outside hanging out with his friend.
"It's nice that they come down here and release trout," Porter said. "It's a nice little park."
Anglers can only catch and harvest five trout a day. You have to have your trout fee and a fishing license to do so.
The Iowa DNR will be back to restock the trout in October.