TERRE HAUTE —
About 200 channel catfish transferred into a new home at the Dobbs Park pond on Wednesday, but it’s unclear how long they’ll remain there. That depends upon the people fishing.
The latest pond stocking by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is part of the ongoing Go FishIN in the City program to promote urban fishing and to get Hoosiers interested in recreational fishing.
“Hopefully, people will get the fishing bug where they’ll want to try different types of fish, and then they’ll go fishing outside the city,” said Dave Kittaka, DNR fisheries biologist. “There are so many fishing opportunities around the state, in parks and wildlife areas.”
On prior occasions this spring, the DNR has released trout in the Maple Avenue Nature Park and catfish in the Dobbs Park pond. The fish have been raised in partnership with the Federal Correctional Complex at Terre Haute.
Those catfish released Wednesday are about two years old and have had a month more to grow and are about an inch longer than the fish released in April.
“This keeps the enthusiasm for fishing going throughout the summer,” Kittaka said of the pond stocking.
The trout will do better in the Maple Avenue lake, where the water is cooler and deeper. Catfish will survive easily in the Dobbs Park pond, and those who are not fished out this summer will be around next year.
“Catfish are pretty durable,” Kittaka said, “If they are not caught this year, they will likely make it to next year.”
Another 150 to 200 channel catfish will also be stocked at Dobbs Park in June, he said.
Fishing as a family is a good way to get children interested in the environment and to build family teamwork, and Dobbs Park offers more than fishing to attract visitors.
“You can’t beat the nature center as far as a family learning environment,” Kittaka said, “and there are picnic areas and trails. If you have a good place to take your kids, you can get them away from the television.”
Terre Haute Parks Superintendent Eddie Bird agreed that Dobbs Park has a lot of recreational opportunities for families, including the playgrounds and Native American museum.
The park averages 15 to 20 people fishing each day, he said, and he often sees people fishing in the evenings around the easily accessible pond.
The Go FishIN program is a good partnership with the state, Bird said, not only for Dobbs Park but for the new Maple Avenue Nature Park, where the DNR recently completed a boat ramp and manages the lake.
“The DNR put that boat ramp in at no cost to the city,” Bird said. “It’s just a great partnership to be able to call the DNR with an issue. And, we get phone calls every day about Maple Avenue park. The public wants to know if they need a fishing license — yes — and if they need a trout stamp — yes.”
The licenses are available online through the DNR website at www.in.gov/dnr, as well as at sporting goods stores.
Wednesday’s pleasant weather saw several people with their fishing poles perched around the perimeter of the Dobbs Park pond.
Morris Sholar of Terre Haute said he often fishes at the pond, usually bringing his children.
“We usually fish for bluegill and bass,” he said. “We like to come out here fishing. We eat what we catch.”
And usually, he is the one who cleans the fish for cooking.
For more information about the city parks department, go to www.terrehaute.in.gov/departments/parks.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.