By Randy Zellers
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program will conclude its final trout stockings for the 2020-21 winter stocking season this week at ponds throughout Arkansas. Originally planned for last week, the stockings were delayed because of the winter weather event that iced over most roads and ponds in The Natural State.
Each year, the AGFC stocks rainbow trout from the Jim Hinkle Spring River Hatchery in ponds throughout Arkansas while the water temperature is low enough to support them. The program is part of the AGFC’s continued mission to recruit the next generation of anglers, no matter where they live in The Natural State.
Maurice Jackson, FCFP coordinator for the AGFC, says the program keeps ponds in urban areas stocked with catfish during summer, but switches to rainbow trout when the water is cold enough to support the fish.
“We want to give people the opportunity to see why fishing is such a great outdoor pursuit,” Jackson said. “Not only are you getting fresh air and fun, but you’re able to bring home some of the best-tasting fish to enjoy once you’re done. The ponds are great for beginners as well as advanced anglers who just want to make a quick trip to the water.”
Jackson says this last round of trout will survive until the water temperature climbs out of the 60s, but anglers typically catch all but a few of the fish by then.
“That’s also the time that we’ll be going back to all of the ponds with truckloads of channel catfish for our anglers to enjoy,” Jackson said. “These ponds are year-round destinations for family gatherings and picnics, and we want to do what we can to make those experiences even more enjoyable.”
Visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing to find a Family and Community Fishing Program location near you.