Winter Trout Program Delivers Fish Closer To Home

Friday, December 6, 2013
A truck from Flintville Hatchery delivers a load of trout to Shelby Park in East Nashville.
A truck from Flintville Hatchery delivers a load of trout to Shelby Park in East Nashville.

Cold air and water might not sound like a good mix to most people, unless you happen to be among the fishermen who enjoy pursuing rainbow trout that thrive in cold surroundings.

If you are one of those anglers, and perhaps seeking something to do between now and the spring, consider checking out the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website for a trout truck coming near you soon.

“From December until late March there are tens of thousands of rainbow trout stocked in bodies of water that normally don’t have trout because winter temperatures create temporary conditions perfect for them,” noted Todd St.
John, a TWRA fish biologist.

Winter conditions mean that TWRA with its state operated hatcheries, along with the federally operated Dale Hollow National Hatchery, can stock trout in the Stones River that runs through Rutherford County, or small lakes like the one found in East Nashville’s Shelby Park.

“There are dozens of places we don’t normally stock trout that will soon get them,” said Mr. St. John. “What makes this winter stocking program so interesting is that for a few cold months we can deliver trout closer to the homes of countless fishermen.”

Rainbow trout are not native Tennessee fish, but have long been stocked for decades by government agencies in waters cold enough to support this popular game fish.

Many of those traditionally stocked waters are tailraces fed by deep reservoirs where the frigid lower layers of deep impoundments create excellent conditions for cold-water trout because of frequent discharges. 

“The Caney Fork River below Center Hill Dam is a good example of a place to catch trout year around,” said Mr. St. John. “But, for some people the Caney Fork is a long and maybe difficult drive. So, for a few months out of the year we take trout closer to many fishermen.”

Municipal lakes, creeks, and even small rivers across Middle Tennessee are among stops for trout trucks. Depending on the size of the water there are anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand fish stocked at each delivery.

“We have already started stocking fish,” said Mr. St. John. “We released trout the first week in December and the trucks are rolling almost non-stop now.”

The trout stocked in Middle Tennessee come from TWRA’s Flintville Hatchery in Lincoln County and from Dale Hollow National Hatchery in Celina. 

There is no size limit on the winter trout stocked and the daily creel limit is seven. The agency encourages anglers to take home a limit because the fish will not survive once it gets consistently hot in Tennessee.

The winter trout stocking schedule and a map of stocking sites across the state are available from TWRA’s website and found by clicking on the “for anglers” link on the homepage menu. The schedule is subject to change depending on weather conditions, but re-scheduled dates are posted as soon as possible. 

The agency website address iswww.tnwildlife.org.

Angler Rick Lindsey lands one of the first winter trout of the year from a lake in Shelby County.
Angler Rick Lindsey lands one of the first winter trout of the year from a lake in Shelby County.

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