Thousands of trout were recently added to Fort Campbell’s streams to give Soldiers and anglers a unique chance to fish for species that are usually found in colder waters.
A collaboration between Fort Campbell and the states of Kentucky and Tennessee provides thousands of trout for local streams not native – or harmful – to the area, said Jonathan Mills, Hunting and Fishing Program manager, Fish and Wildlife, Directorate of Public Works.
“Trout are native to parts of the United States, but in the Southeast, the only species that is native is the brook trout that is found primarily in cold water, high-elevation streams in the Appalachian Mountains,” Mills said.
Brown trout and rainbow trout are both hardier than brook trout but not invasive or able to reproduce in the warmer waters, so the trout are meant to be caught, Mills said.
“Tennessee and Kentucky both have programs that stock those trout into streams that normally would not have had trout, so it’s a ‘put-and-take fishery’,” Mills said. “They are raising those fish for the purpose of being caught by the fishermen in these streams and the goal is to give anglers an opportunity they may not normally have to fish for trout, as well as help recruit anglers moving into this sport.”
Anglers wishing to fish for brown and rainbow trout on Fort Campbell must have a post fishing permit as well as a fishing license from Tennessee or Kentucky and a federal trout stamp. The federal trout stamp funds native brook trout restoration projects, as well as trout hatcheries that replenish the streams each year, Mills said.
Fish from those hatcheries are released into Fort Campbell streams at different times throughout the year. Kentucky Natural Resources stocked approximately 4,500 trout at Fort Campbell on Feb. 4 in the first restocking of the year.
“It’s open for fishing now,” Mills said. “When they catch them, they’re gone. That’s why we stock the fish, so anglers can catch them.”
But plenty more will be on the way soon.
Mills expects Kentucky Natural Resources to return in April. He is still waiting to hear from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to find out when their annual stocking will occur.
Although Tennessee usually release trout in June, July and August, he hopes the number of trout in the hatcheries is sufficient to begin stocking as soon as April or May.
For those who don’t want to wait, there are plenty of trout now, Mills said.
Those wanting to get a license, trout stamp, more information or a map of streams can visit Fort Campbell’s online ftcampbell.isportsman.net, or call 270-798-9824, Mills said.
The cost for a state fishing license varies by state, age and other factors. Mills said pricing information and licenses are available through each state’s website, along with the option to purchase a federal trout stamp. Links to those and other states’ websites are available at ftcampbell.isportsman.net/Hunting.
“Fort Campbell is a unique opportunity for folks to be able to experience the outdoors with a variety of hunting and fishing opportunities throughout the year,” Mills said. “Because of the size of the installation there are a lot of opportunities for us to be able to manage these resources for folks to utilize.”
Fishing is open to anyone legally allowed on Fort Campbell.
“The important thing is we want folks to know we’re stocking the trout on post – especially since one of our main customers are Soldiers,” Mills said. “We want the Soldiers who are here, and the ones coming, to know what opportunities are available. Sometimes, just by the nature of how short a time they are here, they may not plug into that as quickly as they might like to.”