Almost time to go trout fishing downstate – The News Journal

Everything about downstate Delaware’s trout fishing experience is man-made, from the fish that are brought in every year to the ponds where they are released.

But opening day of the downstate trout season is still an anticipated event. The state Division of Fish & Wildlife will stock Tidbury Pond and Newton Pond with hundreds of rainbow trout just before the start of the short season.

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Rainbow trout stocking

The ponds will open to anglers at 7 a.m. March 4.

“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. “We will include trophy-sized trout again this year as an added attraction for trout anglers.”

Upstate, rainbow and brown trout will be stocked in six designated trout streams in northern New Castle County: White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek for opening day on April 1. While the habitat is natural, it is too warm in Delaware to support spawning populations of the fish.

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The program, however, is popular and is paid by anglers. To fish for trout in Delaware, most anglers need to purchase both a fishing license and a Delaware trout stamp.

“Beginning March 4, trout in both ponds will be fair game, and we encourage anglers to keep these trout up to the limit of six,” Clark said. Trout are a cold water species and can only survive while water temperatures in the ponds remain cool, he said.

Trout stamps are required to fish in Tidbury and Newton ponds from the first Saturday in March through April 1. Some anglers are exempt. There is a daily possession limit of six trout. There is no fishing in the two ponds in the 14 days leading up to the start of the season.

“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 eliminates incidental trout hooking mortality by anglers fishing for other species. In addition, the closure gives stocked trout time to adjust and spread out in their new waters. The pre-season closure also eliminates any unlawful harvest prior to the opener and improves fair access to the fishery.”

Three hundred pounds of rainbow trout will be stock in each of the two ponds to start. These fish will average 12- to 13-inches.

Some larger, “trophy-sized” rainbow and brown trout that are larger than 14 inches will be added to each pond. A second release of fish will be done on March 16.

Contact Molly Murray at (302) 463-3334 or mmurray@delawareonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @MollyMurraytnj.

Fishing Facts

No boats are allowed on Tidbury Pond, which is south of Dover.

Newton Pond, near Greenwood, is a restored, 10-acre borrow pit. It opened for trout fishing in 2009. Car top boats and canoes are allowed.

Upstate, trout season opens at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 1 in  White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek.

A Delaware fishing license is required for most anglers fishing for trout. Resident annual fishing licenses cost $8.50 for anglers 16 through 64. No license is required for Delawareans under 16 over 64. The non-resident license is $20.

A Delaware trout stamp is also required and costs $4.20 for anglers 16 to 64. Youth anglers from 12 to 15 need a youth angler trout stamp, which costs $2.10. The non-resident cost is $6.20.

Money raised from the trout stamps is used to buy fish for trout stocking the following year. The program also gets support from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration. Money in the fund comes from a tax anglers pay when they buy fishing gear.

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