SHERIDAN — Local anglers have a new fishing opportunity in Sheridan with the release of more than 400 brown trout in Mavrakis Pond yesterday.
The trout, 13- to 14-inches in length, were residents at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Story Fish Hatchery but will now be available for area residents who fish the popular urban pond.
“They are what we call brood culls,” explained Steve Diekema, superintendent at Story Fish Hatchery. “They are fish we no longer need at the hatchery. As they get a little older, their egg production decreases so we stock the older ones and bring in a new younger age class.”
Diekema said the WGFD does not often stock fish during the winter, but yesterday’s release was a favorable time for increasing angling success for ice-fishers.
“By the time we spawn them and test them and they (tests) come back so they are certified so we can stock them, it gets into November and December and we just decided to wait until there was ice on to provide a good ice fishing opportunity,” he explained.
Mavrakis Pond is not the only area fishing spot to get new a species recently. In October, tiger muskie were released into Kleenburn Ponds and the Ranchester City Pond.
Tiger muskie are hybrids of the northern pike and the muskellunge. They are voracious predators and prey on smaller fish and other aquatic creatures.
“They’ll try to help mow down some of the overabundant species in there,” said Paul Mavrakis, WGFD Sheridan Region Fisheries Supervisor, noting that in particular, bass at Kleenburn Ponds and suckers and green sunfish at Ranchester City Pond are very prolific. “With the muskie being completely sterile, they are a nice management tool because they won’t get away from us in terms of population.”
In addition to helping bring other fish species populations into check, the tiger muskie will provide an exciting, but challenging angling experience. The fish can be difficult to catch, but also are long-lived and grow to a large size, making for a possible trophy catch for some lucky anglers in the future.
“They’ll get really big,” said Mavrakis. “Down at Healy (Reservoir) they have already grown to 25 inches or so and those have been in there since 2012.”
Mavrakis said the tiger muskie released at Ranchester and Kleenburn ponds are 12 to 15 inches and must be at least 30 inches long in order to be kept and taken home.