‘Gone Fishin’ DNR expands trout operation at LaGrange County facility

Local News

HOWE, Ind. (WANE) – Northeast Indiana is filled with lakes and streams, making fishing a popular activity for outdoor recreation. To keep up with angler demand it is important to keep those waterways stocked. That’s where facilities like Curtis Creek Trout Rearing Station come into play to help replenish the fish population.

Located in LaGrange County, Curtis Creek is home to 70,000 rainbow trout, where they are fed and monitored for disease while they are grown to a catchable size. They are then stocked to streams and lakes across the state to get anglers out and fishing.

“The trout from here go throughout the state, so if you’ve caught a rainbow trout in Indiana it’s likely been at this facility at some point in time,” said Riley Schubert, Property Manager at Curtis Creek, “Fish go all the way down to Evansville to Lafayette, we have an urban stocking program where we do stocking closer to Indianapolis and some of the larger towns.”

Curtis Creek Trout Rearing Station is no longer just home to rainbow trout, as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently announced it is expanding its inland trout program to include rearing brown trout in-house at state hatcheries.

In June, Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife officials received nearly 2,500 brown trout from the Ohio DNR. Most of those trout were stocked into streams in northern Indiana, including Pigeon River, Little Elkhart River and Solomon Creek. The DNR said 400 were held back at Curtis Creek Trout Rearing Station to develop as broodstock, which is adult trout used for egg production. Once mature, the adult trout will produce enough fertile eggs to meet the demands of the new rearing program.

“There has been a great deal of angler demand for brown trout here in northern Indiana,” said Matt Horsley, Indiana DNR fisheries biologist. “Hopefully now we can meet those demands with our own source.”  

Indiana has not had its own brown trout program since 1985, the DNR said. All recent brown trout stockings have either been through privately funded stockings, fish acquired from federal hatcheries, or partnerships with hydroelectric companies. 

“Hatchery staff were instrumental in making this happen,” Horsley said. “An opportunity arose, and the hatcheries were able to step up and quickly adjust their current programs to accommodate new fish.” 

Stocking usually takes place in spring when the water is cool enough to allow the trout to thrive but some ponds including Shoaff Park, plan to be stocked later this fall, depending on when the water temperature drops. You can find a list of locations and estimated stocking dates from the DNR here.

The DNR anticipates the first lot of brown trout raised solely within Indiana hatcheries to hit streams by April 2024. 

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