Oklahoma City's winter trout fishing season opens Wednesday but at two new fishing holes.
After stocking trout at the Dolese Youth Park Pond for two decades, the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department is moving the winter trout fishing to the Route 66 Park pond on the west side of Oklahoma City and the Edwards Park Pond on the east side.
John Rayfield, Oklahoma City's fisheries biologist, hopes by offering trout fishing on both sides of the city that it will attract new anglers. The two ponds also will provide more space for both fish and fishermen, he said.
Both the Route 66 Park pond and the Edwards Park pond are deeper than the Dolese Park Youth Pond, he said.
"The fish will be able to move around much more effectively," Rayfield said.
The two ponds also will offer more shoreline for anglers to fish from, making it easier for anglers to spread out and for fly fishermen to cast, he said.
Trout stocked every two weeks
Seven hundred pounds of hatchery-raised trout will be divided between the two ponds for the first stocking by Wednesday with two-thirds of the fish going to Route 66 Park and the rest to Edwards Park, Rayfield said.
Between 400 and 500 pounds of trout then will be stocked about every two weeks through February at the two locations, he said.
The trout will be smaller on average than past years but there will more of them, he said. Anglers are allowed to keep no more than three trout per day.
Edwards Parks is located at 1515 N. Bryant Avenue. Route 66 Park is located at 9901 NW 23rd Street.
In the future, Rayfield hopes to add South Lakes Park in south Oklahoma City to the winter trout locations if enough money can be raised from private sponsors to buy the fish.
Trout derby kicks off season
To kick of the trout season, a derby will be held at the Route 66 Park pond on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Instructional booths will be set up where anglers of all ages can learn to fish for trout.
"We will have a bunch of booths set up for the kids, but basically the whole public can come to learn certain skills, such as trout identification, knot tying, casting and rules and regulations," Rayfield said.
The Martin Park Nature Center in Oklahoma City also will have booth to provide information about environmental issues and education on how humans can leave less of a footprint in the outdoors.Children ages 5 to 15 will be given a passport where they can obtain a stamp from each booth. Upon completion, they will be given given a free rod and reel while supplies last.
The rod and reels will be provided by the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League. Lucky Lure in Oklahoma City is donating bait and tackle for the event.
Popular baits for trout include the Berkley Power Baits, corn, salmon eggs, minnows and worms. Trout also will bite small artificial lures such as Panther Martins, Rooster Tails and red and white spoons.
City and state fishing licenses
Rayfield hopes the derby will be an annual event to kick-off the winter trout season. Next year, a fishing contest with prizes may be added to the derby, he said.
The derby is free and no one needs a city or state fishing license to participate. However, once the derby ends at 1 p.m., anglers will need both a city fishing permit and state fishing license to continue to fish for trout.
City fishing permits are $20 annually, $10 for three days or $5 for one day. Permits can be bought online at www.okc.gov/departments/parks-recreation/lakes-and-fishing/fishing-regulations.
City fishing permits are also sold at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's.
The Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department also will hold a trout fishing class on Jan. 15 at Edwards Park and another on Feb. 12 at Route 66 Park, Rayfield said.
Anglers can get updates on stockings and other trout fishing information from the Fish OKC Facebook page.
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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OKC is moving the winter trout fishing to two new fishing holes