Fifth grade students from White Pine Elementary and Thomas Edison Charter School received trout eggs in early January from Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and Trout Unlimited volunteers.
Trout Unlimited delivered about 200 trout eggs each to 47 aquariums in schools across Utah as part of Trout Unlimited’s national Trout in the Classroom program. The culmination of the exercise, locally, was releasing them into Wellsville Pond.
On Tuesday, under cloudy skies and a light sprinkle, students were given a clear plastic cup with a rainbow trout freshly netted from a cooler. The coolers were filled with fish from the 60-gallon aquariums in the students’ classroom. Each student was able to release at least one of the fish into the cool Wellsville water.
Some parents came along to coach the students in the best fishing practices.
Gracie Atsmanchuk was so excited when she was given her trout in the cup, she ran to find her mother and show it to her before releasing it.
After the trout were released, Paul Holden from Cache Anglers, called the group of students over and gave a brief show and tell about how to cast a line from a fishing pole.
Cache Anglers had a line of poles ready for the students to use. Poles were bated and each excited student sent the bobber and bait into the pond hoping to reel in a prize.
Some students struggled to get their line in the water and others found the middle of the pond with little effort.
Brett Prettyman, the Intermountain Communications Director for Trout Unlimited, said there were nine schools in Cache Valley and one in Tremonton that participated in the Trout in the Classroom program.
“As far as I know, Cache Valley is the only place in the state where students fish after they release the them,” Prettyman said. “That’s a tradition Cache Anglers and DWR started.”
He said most of the teaches don’t dedicate that much time to the Trout in the Classroom program.
Thomas Edison Charter School teacher, Bev Wead, said it was part of her class’s study of the cycle of life.
“They brought us an aquarium and trout eggs,” she said. “We watched the eggs hatch and the fish grow and now we are letting them back to where they came from.”
A few of the fish would jump out of the tank and were found the next morning, one was found when they moved the tank.
Tiffany Kinder brought 28 students, and a few parents to watch, to the Wellsville Pond to watch the release of the 3-4 inch trout. Between the two schools, there were some 400 fingerlings released.
Like Wead, Kinder’s students watched the eggs hatch, and then cared for the trout and watched them grow. Both teachers have used the fish to help students learn about the life cycle of trout and the ecosystems they live in.
This was the fourth year the two teachers have been involved in the program, and they both said this was the most success they have had. Other years, they had a fair number of fish die. This year the tiny rainbows had flourished.
“It’s been a good year for our trout,” Kinder said.