Thanks to the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, area fishing enthusiasts won’t have to travel far to catch rainbow trout.
As Blaise Bursell attached a long tube to his truck full of fish Tuesday afternoon, out rushed a school of 2,800 rainbow trout into a pond roughly 10 miles east of Mitchell in Hanson County. The trout were initially intended to be stocked at the Family Park ponds in Sioux Falls, but due to a dam breach that the body of water experienced this year, the GF&P were able to find a new home for the trout to be stocked.
“They’re about a year and a half old, and it’s awesome that we were able to stock this pond,” Bursell said, as he watched the final group of trout swim away. “The Family Park ponds are stocked twice a year, each getting 2,800 at a time, so it’s great they found a home.”
Bursell is a resource biologist with the GF&P based out of Rapid City, and he traveled nearly 300 miles from the Cleghorn Springs Fish Hatchery to stock the small pond full of healthy 11-inch trout.
The privately owned pond is called the Miller Fisheries Management Agreement Pond, which is located just south of Highway 38 on the edge of Hanson County. According to Andy Petersen, Mitchell area conservation officer, the GF&P has an agreement with the landowner, which allows for the pond to a be public fishing destination.
Stocking the pond, Petersen said, is another example of the GF&P working with landowners to give back to outdoor enthusiasts.
“This helps us promote more fishing, and we hope that doing things like this helps get people outside to enjoy the outdoor sports South Dakota offers,” Petersen said. “It’s been great working with landowners to provide these types of opportunities.”
With a valid fishing license, anglers are able to catch five trout per person per day, including the ability to have a total of 10 in possession. The pond is open year-round, because ice fishing is also permitted.
Although the pond lacks a boat slip, anglers can fish from the shore and can utilize kayaks, Petersen said.
While Bursell regularly stocks ponds in the northeast side of the state, to his recollection, the freshly stocked pond marks the closest proximity to Mitchell.
The truck is equipped with large tanks that run off oxygen to keep the fish healthy during the transportation process.
Bursell said the dynamic fish truck is capable of getting nearly anywhere in the state, allowing the GF&P to provide rainbow trout fishing for areas that may not have access. Rainbow trout generally spawn and thrive in streams and tributaries, making the Black Hills an ideal habitat area for the species of fish.
The cattails surrounding the pond, and the depth of the pond, make great habitat for the rainbow trout to thrive in, Petersen said.
“We’ve been trying to have more urban fisheries, and we’re kind of treating this like a family urban fishery that allows for people to be successful in catching fish,” Petersen said, noting it’s a one-time stock. “They should have good luck now.”