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LDWF stock Vidalia pond with rainbow trout

Vidalia — Tucked in a quiet corner of the Concordia Recreation District 3Park is a community fishing pond that kids 15 years and under can fish for free without a license.

Vidalia’s William T. Polk city park pond is one of the 17 locations partnered with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries program “Get Out and Fish!”. The program stocks community ponds with adult sized fish to provide a fun fishing experience according to the LDWF website.

Vidalia Recreation director Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said the city first built the complex about 10 years ago and dug out the ponds to get dirt to add to the ball fields. He said when they saw an opportunity they added a fishing pier for people to fish off of, and a fountain.

“The purpose of it is to have a location for recreation and for fishing,” Hoffpauir said. “About three years ago the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and fisheries contacted me about stocking the pond with rainbow trout, which is not native to here. For the last three years they come here twice a year, and stock it with 100 pounds of rainbow trout each time.”

Rainbow trout are stocked anywhere from the months of December to February depending on water temperature according to the LDWF website. Water temperatures in the winter are more favorable for trout, Hoffpauir said.

On Jan. 14, the LDWF stocked the park’s pond with rainbow trout. In the spring, the LDWF will stock the pond with channel catfish, Hoffpauir said. Anyone who is 16 and older must purchase a fishing license from the LDWF in order to fish the pond.

In order for a pond to be a part of the “Get Out and Fish!” program, it has to be open to the public and located near a community park or easily accessible by the community according to the LDWF website. Hoffpauir said the program has shown no signs of stopping.

“We are glad that they picked us,” Hoffpauir said. “They are really impressed with the facilities up here. We hope it is going to be a long reaching program and that it will continue.”

People of all ages are welcomed to fish the pond, Hoffpauif said, and one of his favorite things to see is a mixture of young and old enjoying the fishing pond.

Hoffpauir said the pond has Bream, Bass, Trout and Catfish in it and said the limit of fish per person is five. Signs on the pier ask fishermen to release any bass caught into the pond.

“It is not there to fill your freezers up,” Hoffpauir said. “It is there for recreation. Hopefully people won’t abuse what we have. (Instead) take advantage of it and have fun.”

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