Statement as issued Tuesday by the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife:
FORT WAYNE – For the second year in a row, the DNR will stock 300 channel catfish at Fort Wayne’s Lakeside Park prior to a free public fishing event on Saturday May 17.
From 9:00 am through noon, the DNR Go FishIN program in partnership with the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department will also offer a “Family Learn to Fish” workshop at Lakeside Park.
At the workshop, families will learn a little fish biology, gain basic fishing skills, and have the opportunity to practice fishing as they try to catch sunfish and catfish.
All fishing equipment and bait will be provided. Children must be 6 years or older to participate. Although the workshop is free, pre-registration is required by calling 317-234-8440 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the family fishing workshop, DNR employees will be on hand during Saturday morning to loan fishing equipment, provide bait, and offer assistance to anyone who want to try their luck at catching catfish.
No fishing license is needed since May 17 is a Free Fishing Day offered by the DNR. At other times, anyone 18 or older needs a license to fish at Lakeside Park.
Last year anglers caught over 50 catfish during a similar event. Unlike last year however, the catfish will be released into the large pond immediately south of Lake Avenue instead of the pond at the north end of the park due to construction at the north pond.
The catfish measure about 14 inches long and will boost the fish population already present in the pond.
The catfish stocking is part of the DNR’s Go FishIN in the City Program, a statewide effort to promote fishing and fishing opportunities within Indiana’s urban areas.
Based on a survey conducted last summer at Lakeside Park, anglers fished more than 1,600 hours and caught over 200 catfish.
“The first year of the stocking program was very popular at Lakeside,” said Tyler Delauder, a DNR assistant biologist. “We plan to continue it as long catfish are available and interest remains high.”
In contrast, a similar catfish stocking in a small pond at Shoaff Park on the city’s north side was less popular and has been discontinued.
In addition to the 300 catfish to be stocked this week, another 300 catfish were released at Lakeside Park in mid-April.
“There will be plenty of catfish out there to catch,” said Delauder.
For information on Go FishIN in the City and the catfish stockings, visit http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7508.htm or contact the Northeast Regional Office in Columbia City at 260-244-6805.