The ponds at Deer Valley have been stocked and are ready to be fished. It took a little longer this year for the ice to melt but they’ve already introduced hundreds of rainbow trout into the ponds at Deer Valley.
Manager, Chris Crockett says they ‘ll be stocking a variety of fish in preparation for Free Fishing Day on June 8th.
“But, it’s always a good time to go fishing at Deer Valley. We ctually have pretty good carry over from year to year both with the Rainbow trout. But we also stock tiger trout. We haven’t stocked them yet this year but the ones that we stocked last summer, and last fall should be of good size and they’re always hungry.”
He says the four to five-inch tiger trout they stock help control goldfish which have been introduced illegally into the ponds.
Park City kids participate in the Trout in the Classroom program which is a partnership between the DWR and Trout Unlimited.
“We gave multiple elementary schools, typically fourth through sixth grade eggs in the spring and they’ve been growing them for us and then releasing typically about a three inch into these ponds. And, it’s a great learning experience for the kids and half the time, these fish seem to have a name and personality and it’s really good opportunity for the kids to study eco-systems and also just get a feel for what’ s needed in terms of clean cold water to successfully grow trout.”
Crockett says they usually release about 500 fish every couple of weeks through the season.
They responded to several calls about dead fish in the Deer Valley ponds. It’s not uncommon to have some winter kill. They did a survey at the ponds and he says they found healthy populations of fish.
“Those ponds do get a sizeable amount of ice every year so you can have winter kills because essentially under the ice there’s very little circulation going on. All of that organic matter that’s left over, vegetation, etcetera, starts to decompose and that soaks up, or that utilizes, through respiration, a lot of the oxygen.”
Regulations allow people to keep two fish of any kind. However, Crockett says most people practice catch and release.
“I don’t frown at all upon individuals that want to keep, to harvest fish from those ponds. But, there are also a lot of individuals who want to go fishing just before work or after work and typically, they’ll just be doing catch and release.”
Crockett says they introduced a very fast-growing fish that also helps to control invasive species.
“A few years ago, we started stocking Wipers which is a hybrid white bass to help control some of the illegally introduced goldfish in that pond. And, when we did a survey last year, we had wipers up to 22 inches in that pond.”
Park City students will release some of their home-grown minnows on Friday morning at the Deer Valley ponds.