BEAR RIVER CITY – Patty Green, the Librarian at Century Elementary School in Bear River City, said they finally got an aquarium for raising trout in the classroom for the first time and she is beyond excited to have it in her school.
“I’ve been trying to bring one to Century for four or five years now and one came available,” she said. “It is amazing, amazing, amazing.”
Green said it is good for the kids to watch the progression of the fish. She said the kids can read about it in a book but when they can see something in real life, they will understand it better. Trout Unlimited has been facilitating Trout in the Classroom for over a decade.
“(Paul Holden) delivered the trout eggs a couple of weeks ago on January 14, and they are starting to hatch,” she said. “They came from DWR’s Mantua State hatchery.”
Paul Holden of Cache Anglers, the local chapter of Trout Unlimited, came to the school and set up the aquarium. He taught Green how to balance the chemical makeup of the water to raise the trout.
Holden said he went back to the school on Thursday to help Green change the water and check on the fish.
“It looks like all of the eggs have hatched and they have their yoke sack still attached,” he said. “Next, they will grow fins and be looking more like fish.”
Cache Anglers and Trout Unlimited give the schools all the supplies and monitors the growth of the fish until it’s time to release them into the wild.
“It is part of a nation-wide Trout Unlimited effort,” Holden said. “At the end of the year we have the kids set the trout free, usually in the Wellsville Reservoir and give them a pole and let them fish.”
Bryan Christensen a volunteer coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources said he was the one that got the trout eggs and divided 150 eggs to each of the 40-plus schools. The eggs went to two schools in Box Elder County and nine in Cache County.
“The National Trout Unlimited group developed a curriculum for the schools to get them set up for cold water conditions and wait for us to have eggs ready,” he said. “When they have some ready to hatch, we authorize them to take the eggs to the tanks in the schools.”
He said at the end of the year the kids will take the fish with rods, reels and bait after they let them loose in predetermined community ponds at specific locations.
Brett Prettyman, the Utah Tout Unlimited communications director for Cache Valley, is easily the top participant in the state for Trout in the Classroom participants.
“The Cache Valley Chapter has the most successful program in the state,” he said. “Maybe it is because of the fishing trip at the end of the year.”
He said the DWR has been really good to work with for the Trout in the Classroom project.
“We couldn’t do it without them and their support,” Prettyman said. “We have to have their cooperation. It is a good partnership and it makes a lot of difference.”