Base ponds restocked with catfish, trout ahead of Winter season

  • Published
  • By Clayton Cummins

Anglers at Tinker Air Force Base have a reason to celebrate ahead of the holiday season. The 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Directorate recently restocked all five recreational fishing ponds on base.

The base ponds were filled with approximately 1,000 catfish and trout total. Trout were stocked in the Beaver, Redbud and Marsh ponds.

Restocking efforts are an annual task for Natural Resources Biologist Ray Moody and his team who monitor fish populations each fall.

“We do some seining, which is a large net with two poles on each end, and we’ll survey the population to make sure that fish are reproducing,” said Moody. “Sometimes we have to do management things, like we might stock some bass if they didn’t reproduce.”

The catfish added to ponds on base were produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Inks Dam located in Texas. Trout were provided to Tinker from Crystal Lake Fisheries in Missouri.

“Typically, our native fish are warm water fish, and they bite during the summer spring and fall pretty well,” said Moody. “In the wintertime they are kind of in a state of hibernation, so they slow their metabolism down and are harder to catch. This provides an opportunity to fish for a cool water species that will bite in the wintertime.”

Stocking trout in base ponds is a practice that began nearly two decades ago. Anglers are in for a real treat this year.

“The fish farm in Missouri grew trophy sized trout for us,” said Moody. “We received about 20 fish (or 100lbs.) that were considered trophy size trout anywhere from 4.2lbs. a piece on average.”

Retired Veteran Bruce Allen recently caught a record breaking 23.5” rainbow trout from the Beaver Pond. Moody says providing close to home fishing opportunities for Airmen, Veterans and Civilians is important.

“Our Airmen are busy, they get deployed and if you want to go on a long fishing trip to catch rainbow trout, you might have to go all the way down to Beavers Bend or Missouri,” said Moody. “This is a fishing opportunity right in their backyard. It provides a low cost close to home family activity. People can go out and catch trout right here at Tinker and the really cool thing is they have an opportunity to catch really big trout.”

There are rules and proclamations when it comes to fishing on base. Visit the Tinker AFB Natural Resources Program website to review the rules and purchase a fishing license online. Base access is required.

“The sports fisheries program on base is set up to be a sustainable resource,” said Moody. “All the fishing permits we get, those funds go directly back into restocking. When people are paying for their trout stamps, they are paying for trout for next year. That determines how many we can get stocked.”