Video: rainbow trout stocking a spring ritual for kids

March 29, 2011 at 04:47 PM

It’s become a yearly spring ritual at Washington Park.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Dan Stephenson always waits until the preschoolers arrive before stocking trout into the upper pond.

The kids arrived at 9 a.m., but Stephenson and Bob Wheeler of Crystal Lake Fisheries of Ava, Mo., didn’t seem to mind waiting a few extra minutes on a cold Tuesday morning. That’s because the fun doesn’t really start until the kids show up.

Stephenson gets a bucket of rainbow trout down from the stocking truck so the children from Washington Park Preschool can take turns touching or petting the fish. Then it’s time to turn on the spigot and watch the fish pour into the pond.

Stephenson says about 300 rainbow trout were stocked in the upper pond Tuesday.

In the Springfield area, trout also are stocked at the Illinois Department of Transportation Pond.

One reminder, though: It is illegal to take trout until the spring season officially opens at 5 a.m. on Saturday. Anyone 16 or older needs an Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. Sales of the stamps pay for the fish stocked each spring and fall.