Courier Staff Writer
If you enjoy rainbow trout or brook trout, you should have been at Ottumwa Park Saturday morning.
That’s when Mark Flammang of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and his team dumped bucket after bucket of trout into the big lagoon next to the camping area.
Parks Director Gene Rathje said the IDNR team would dump about 2,000 rainbow and brook trout.
“People line up for this event,” he said. “It’s springtime and it’s great for outdoor recreation.”
Rathje also said he has learned trout can live all year in the lagoon because there’s enough oxygen in the cold water and there’s a fountain in the water that helps stir up more oxygen.
Rathje started the event in 2011 and plans to continue with a third stocking of trout this spring and one in the fall.
Fishing enthusiasts lined the lagoon banks Saturday for the chance to catch one of the tagged fish. Men, women and children alike picked up their poles and cast their lines into the water as part of the event’s competition.
Randy Sundquist of Ottumwa said he has enjoyed fishing for trout since the event started.
“But this is my first time for me to fish in a competition,” he said.
Andy McCabe of Ottumwa also loves the fishing event.
“I enjoy eating fish, and I do like the trout,” he said.
McCabe uses “trout nibbles” to attract the fish to his baited hook. He said the nibbles are “colorful.”
More than one fisherman said trout like colorful food, such as salmon eggs.
“Trout will also bite on corn and minnows,” McCabe added.
Sundquist shared some of the lagoon bank with Steve Rupe of Ottumwa.
“I’ve been fishing since I was 7 years old,” Sundquist said. “I grew up catching bluegill and crappie. They’re both good to fish for.”
Rupe noted he had more fun fishing than hunting. And, the kids like it, too.
“I get out and fish, and this event is nice and handy to have at the park,” he said.