Fishing Column: Kids enjoy Trout in the Classroom program
"This is fun! I caught six fish," boasted a very happy Danielle Nichols as she reeled in her last fish from Bunnells Pond in Bridgeport.
Danielle, age 13, and 15 other students from Bridgeport's Park City Prep and Bridge Academy are participants in the Beardsley Zoo's Trout In The Classroom (TIC) program. Recently the students teamed up with the Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) program for a day of hands on learning and some fishing.
The youngsters have been participating in the school-year long TIC program. With the help of Jim Knox, Education Director at the zoo and his staff, the students attend sixteen workshops at the Zoo during the school year.
They not only participate in the routine duties of raising trout from eggs to fry such as monitoring water quality and tank maintenance. But they also learn about the biodiversity of the Bridgeport area in general, and the Poquonnock River specifically, by doing stream habitat surveys.
Last week their assignment was to learn about catch and release fishing and how to fish efficiently and safely.
Many of the students caught fish and some didn't. Those catching fish and attend Bridge Academy were: Tamia Bagley, 13, (bluegill and sunfish) and Andre Wilson, 13, (two pumpkinseeds).
Even Ms. Kate Mayer from Park City Prep got into the `swing' of things and `hooked' a few trees.
When the fishing was done it was back to the Zoo's Research Station classroom where the students tested the water quality of their trout nursery. They also tested and recorded the water temperature and made other learning observations before heading back to their schools.
Who says learning can't be fun! These students and the educational staff all had a great time. Jim Knox was assisted by Lisa Heinemann of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Chris Clark from the Zoo, Gian Morresi (CARE) and Marty Armstrong (CARE).
If you have some time next Saturday the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited needs volunteers to help out at its annual Special Olympics Fishing Derby in Wilton. The Mianus Chapter of TU has been hosting this day of growth and fun for more than 10 years.
The Derby will be held on Sat. October 5 and will run from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the pond at Merwin Meadows Park.
Volunteers are needed to help set up and assist the Special Olympians. With your help this will be a day the Special Olympians will never forget. Volunteers will be paired with Special Olympics athletes to help them bait hooks, cast and reel in the big one!
Everyone there will enjoy a free lunch. Email Jeff Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and to volunteer.
Fishing is improving as the fall migration south is bringing a lot of fish through the Western Sound. Bluefish are your best bet and striped bass angling is right behind.
The Catch of The Week honors goes to Ray Gilbody. While fishing with Lynn Youdin in 16 feet of water south of the Norwalk Islands, Ray hooked a 40-pound striped bass. Lynn caught a 16-pound bluefish and a 12-pound striper. They were using fresh bunker for bait.
Gary at Pete's Place reported that Marvin Manaka caught a 36-inch striper while fishing inside Stamford Harbor. The linesider tipped the scales at 19 pounds and was taken using a live bunker for bait.
Capt. Jim Christianson took Sam Bell on an early morning outing to the Norwalk Islands last Thursday. Sam caught several bluefish including a huge 19-pounder while fishing in 18 feet of water. He was using chunks of bunker for bait.
Ron Lombaro reeled in a 38-inch bluefish and a couple of small striped bass while fishing inside Stamford Harbor. He was also using fresh bunker.
Bottom fishing is still very good. Last week John Klinga caught lots of porgies while working the waters at Cockenee Reef. His largest fish was a 2.4-pound porgy. He was using some pieces of bunker for bait.
Fred Bova spent some time fishing near the Stamford Lighthouse and was rewarded with a pail full of porgies including a 3 pounder. The fish were caught using a squid and clam combo.
Mike Black fished over on Greens Ledge during the week. Using a combination of squid and spearing he caught a limit of porgies and a couple black sea bass. His largest porgy weighed 3.5-pounds and his largest sea bass weighted 5 pounds.