Trout in the Classroom

Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is an environmental education program in which students in grades k-12 . . .

  • raise trout from eggs to fry.
  • monitor tank water quality.
  • engage in stream habitat study.
  • learn to appreciate water resources.
  • begin to foster a conservation ethic.
  • grow to understand ecosystems.

Most programs end the year by releasing their trout in a state-approved stream near the school or within a nearby watershed.

During the year each teacher tailors the program to fit his or her curricular needs. Therefore, each program is unique. TIC has interdisciplinary applications in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, fine arts, and physical education. In each state, Trout in the Classroom is funded by a number of generous supporters and made more rich through varied partnerships.

Currently, the Clear Fork River Chapter sponsors a half dozen TIC programs in area schools. It takes about $1,200 to set up a trout-rearing tank, with most of the cost going toward a water chiller (trout like cold water). The cost for subsequent years is minimal once all equipment is on hand after the first year. The program begins in January when classrooms receive fertilized rainbow or brown trout eggs from an Ohio Division of Wildlife fish hatchery and ends when trout fingerlings are released into a stream (usually Apple Creek in Wooster) in May.  On the day of the release, kids learn about stream ecology and sample the stream for aquatic macroinvertebrates, the insects and their relatives that trout feed on when living in the stream. They also clean up trash from the stream.

The chapter can direct interested teachers to funding sources so that equipment can be purchased.

For more information, visit the website Those interested in participating in the program should contact Anthony Salupo, our TIC coordinator at Contact Us.

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Stocking Apple Creek

In the spring of 2005, The Clear Fork River Chapter of TU teamed with the City of Wooster to stock Apple Creek at Grosjean Park in Wooster with 500, 12-inch long rainbow trout.  This was the start of an “experimental trout fishery” open to the public. Anglers were encouraged to fly fish and practice catch and release. The experiment was a success!

The stream was stocked again in the fall of 2005 and in the spring and fall of each year thereafter until 2011. From 2012 to the present, the stream has been stocked in the fall only, once each in October and November. The fish overwinter successfully and provide excellent fishing all year, even in the stressful hot months of July and August.

The stream is stocked with both rainbow trout and brown trout purchased from a private fish hatchery located in Castalia. The fish average 1.5 pounds each and 14-15 inches in length with some trout weighing in at 3 pounds and 20 inches. The cost of purchasing the trout is borne by grants from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the City of Wooster and the CFRTU chapter.

The stocking of the creek is a special event. The stocking truck arrives full of trout ready to be released into the creek at 10 in the morning on the days of the stockings. The fish are off-loaded into large buckets partially filled with water and hauled to the creek by an ATV or hand carried. The trout are distributed over a one-mile stretch of the stream into deep holes and runs. It is important to get the fish from the truck to the creek as quickly as possible during this stressful period for the fish.

The chapter invites not only Trout Unlimited members to participate in the stocking, but family and friends as well. Everyone gets a little wet during the two hours of stocking, but everyone has a great time as well. Waders or hip boots can help keep you dry, but when the weather is not too cold, wet wading in old sneakers and pants works quite well.

This is also a time when we pick up litter from the creek as well as the wooded areas that border the stream. Apple Creek is a beautiful “urban” stream and we want to keep it that way.

The stocking of Apple Creek is a special treat for all who participate. Come along next time and join in on the fun!

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Fly Tying

The chapter has conducted or sponsored a number of fly tying events for members, from beginners to advanced tiers. Some of our monthly chapter meetings have been devoted to fly tying. Also, small groups sessions have been arranged for more intensive instruction for fly tiers.

The chapter has purchased a dozen fly tying kits with tying materials to loan out to beginning tiers. Also, once per year, usually February or March, the chapter holds its monthly chapter meeting in conjunction with John Rochus’ fly tying get-together, at the Sippo Lake Library building in Canton. The three hour long meeting includes a session where expert fly tiers demonstrate how to tie selected patterns. Members and guests bring along their vises, tools and materials and learn to tie these patterns.

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Macroinvertebrate Surveys

Beginning in 2012, chapter members have been sampling Apple Creek for macroinvertebrates at 2 sites one to two times a year. Sampling tools are dip nets and kick seines.

A diverse array of invertebrates has been recorded, especially those taxa (mayflies, caddis flies and stoneflies) sensitive to water pollutants. An assessment of macroinvertebrate diversity is used to calculate a pollution index of stream water quality . in Apple Creek. In all surveys at both sites, water quality has registered as excellent.

Macroinvertebrates in Apple Creek serve as a major food source for stocked trout and serve as indicators to fly fishermen what fly patterns can be successfully fished.

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Fly Fishing Clinics

Apple Creek at Grosjean Park in Wooster has been stocked with rainbow and brown trout starting in 2005.  Since 2012, the October stocking has been coupled with a free fly-fishing clinic for novice and beginner anglers.

Prior to the clinics, the stream is stocked with large brown trout and rainbow trout. The cost of purchasing trout is from an Outdoor Education Grant provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, funds from the City of Wooster and the CFRTU chapter.

The clinic is open to adults and kids 12 years of age and older. A parent or responsible adult must accompany kids under 16. Those 16 years and older must possess a valid Ohio fishing license. We encourage family members to participate. The clinics are held from 1 until 4 p.m. on  Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There is a limit of 20 participants for each clinic.

The clinics will familiarize participants with fly fishing tackle and flies, how to cast a fly line, fish a fly, and to hook, play,  land and release trout safely back into the stream.  Fly fishing tackle, flies, and waders are provided for those who need them. Instructors are experienced fly anglers from the CFRTU chapter. All fishing is Catch & Release to help sustain the fishery.

Look under Home Waters, Apple Creek for a map showing how to get to Apple Creek and Grosjean Park.

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Wounded Warriors

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001. It operates as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Each fall, the Chapter teams up with Dan Longnecker, owner of Little Pickerel Creek Farm in Castalia, to provide volunteers for a two-day, fly fishing and pheasant hunting program. We support the fly fishing program held on the first day.

We meet the Wounded Warriors at the DOW fish hatchery in Castalia where we fish the heavily stocked Cold Creek for rainbow trout. We provide all of the fly fishing tackle and flies and a dozen or so of our chapter members instruct the Warriors on how to cast a fly line, fish a fly and how to hook, play and land a trout. The fish are harvested and prepared for a cookout that evening.

This is a fabulous event. Everyone is all smiles at the end of the day!

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