Two weeks ago, while I was busy with work and plotting a weekend escape for some flats kayak fishing, most schools were in Spring Break.
We knew school lockdowns were coming, so I asked Dan Cone, GRTU VP Fisheries, to check with TPWD about extending our winter trout release permit so our Trout in the Classroom teachers could rescue and release their trout fry. A few of our 29 teachers had already been able to move their TIC aquariums to home.
Turned out we had to file a new permit application, and happily, TPWD approved our application in just one week (normally six). We have a permit lasting to the end of May, covering from yesterday’s early release, and allowing our teachers who can take care of their tanks to still plan classroom outings through the end of the school year.
Half of our teachers successfully petitioned their principals to “pick the locks” yesterday morning. One teacher told me it was No Go until she shared my e-mail announcing Dan’s successful Permit effort for yesterday’s quickly planned early release.
As in past years, we converged on our gracious benefactor’s beautiful home at mile 4 in the Guadalupe tailrace.
We released 2,035 1″ to 2″ rainbow fry, and reported our results to TPWD as required by our permit.
Austin teachers hard at work
Just downriver, we had had fly fishing neighbors
San Antonio and Austin teachers releasing their rainbow fry
Mike McKenna’s well-traveled cooler and the catch of the day – four beer cans from the river bottom
(Brandeis HS was easy – Mike’s the Principal)
Houston teachers arriving
Fat Houston rainbows
Trudging coolers to flowing water
Lining up to release
Our fly-fishing neighbor fighting an 18″ rainbow
Get those fry in the river
Our Houston FFF compatriot, co-sponsor in Texas TIC, Matt Blyth and son
My last San Antonio teacher yesterday, Jason Brown, a former Alaska Hatcheries biologist – he said the last time he did this, he released 14 million salmon fry
My reward for this? The Sattler Lowe’s Market was fully stocked with all but paper products, and I took home milk and eggs.
Back to the river today. A teacher from Houston could only get in his school today.
Had his tanks on an auto feeder over spring break, and delivered 180 fat 3″ rainbows.
I figured if he could drive 3 hours one way, I could drive a half-hour to meet him.
Adding river water and 20 minutes to kill
Chris is a zoologist, former zookeeper before HS aquatic science teacher.
He raised brine shrimp in his class to help stoke those trout – amazing his students
He’s a fly fisherman, fly tier, and about to move to VA and take up glass fly rods…
Pouring them in
A beautiful day, and more success in all this.
We had a celebration today.
Only four of 29 teachers in the TIC program had access to their classrooms to “run the course” and today, trout fry from our last two aquariums this year were released in the Guadalupe.
Fourth grade students, teachers and parents from New Braunfels Christian Academy made their annual pilgrimage this morning.
The school is open this week, but I understand only for year-end celebration activities, and this definitely counts.
They brought 87 rainbow fry
Though they prayed over the fish for them to find their place in this coldwater ecosystem
we looked more like a convention of Future Bandits of America
We weren’t alone at the river – he’s on a good run
The students lined up to take their turn releasing their 4 trout each into the river
Who says you can’t see big grins through face masks
On the right is Ms. McCarthy – her father Hylmar Karbach was a GRTU founder.
Our neighbor, a good GRTU steward, caught a fish and brought it over for the kids to see
While the fourth graders straggled a bit, Ms. Meyer from Center Point HS Ag Sciences brought all her babies, including her older daughter.
She didn’t have a count, guessed 60 fish, so we had to count them on the fly to report to TPWD, in accordance with our Permit.
She under-guessed, we counted 111 trout
Pouring the last six rainbows for the year into the river.
…forgot to mention, while the fish were acclimating in their cooler with fresh river water, gave my obligatory speech to the kids about why releasing aquarium fish into native water is never a good idea.
I explained why our contained cold water ecosystem is special, how it already changes the native fish population, and why we’re able to obtain a TWPD Permit for this activity.
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