COOKEVILLE –It’s the “reel” deal – Cane Creek Park’s winter trout are here.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency released approximately 2,000 rainbow trout into the park’s 56-acre lake Dec. 11 and will return Jan. 22 to release 3,000 more through its annual statewide winter trout stocking program.
“We want people to come out and fish for them and not feel guilty about taking them home and making a meal out of them,” Jack Swearengin, TWRA fisheries biologist, said. “That’s what they’re for.”
Trout are normally found in cold-water streams, but through the winter trout stocking program, people in urban areas can enjoy fishing close to home.
Dennis Woolbright, Cane Creek Park manager, said locals are eager to take advantage.
“A lot of people like to come out,” he said. “What makes it nice is that they have an opportunity to fish for trout right here instead of having to drive way out in the country or walk down to the streams.”
The trout, which come from Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery, are nine to 11 inches long. The daily creel limit is seven per fisherman, and each person must use his or her own creel. Anglers must have a trout license in addition to their Tennessee fishing license.
Swearengin said the money used to purchase a trout license goes back into the trout stocking program to replenish the fish.
Trout is a cold-water species that cannot live year-round in the lake at Cane Creek Park. That is why the fish must be restocked each December and January.
“They do very well in this lake,” Swearengin said. “We’ll have people catch trout out here on into May and June.”
What’s the best way to catch them?
Swearengin and Woolbright recommend whole kernel corn, salmon eggs, red worms or commercial bait such as rooster tails and spinners.
“They’re not really difficult to catch,” Swearengin said.
Anglers should also be on the lookout for a few larger trout come Jan. 2. On that day, TWRA will release an additional 15 to 20 “trophy fish” in the three- to five-pound range.
Cane Creek Park is open daily from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. at 201 C C Camp Road. The park has two fishing piers and a boat ramp for non-motorized and electric-powered boats. For more information, call 931-520-4386.