HURST, Texas — Experienced anglers in North Texas know the best places to fish and know when the fish will be ready to bite. But if you're new to the game, Texas Parks and Wildlife can provide some help: often with the exact date and time that the fish will show up.
Chisolm Park in Hurst for example. This past Wednesday, Charlotte Hannah, her son and grandsons were there.
"Oh great! You did good son," she said as a grandson cast his line into the Chisolm Park pond.
Casey Carlton and his kids drove all the way from Arlington.
"Got your Barbie pole," he asked his daughter Evie.
"Great. I'm tangled," she said in frustration.
"I love it," said Vietnam Veteran Dan Armstrong who staked out his favorite spot on the shoreline too.
"Well, I told the wife I was staying until 1 pm. And I'm patient enough I can do that," he said.
Their patience would pay off because they knew when the fish would arrive.
"I think that they're gonna be here real soon," Carlton told his kids.
The rainbow trout arrived at 9:30 am to be exact. They came in Jordan Harris' truck. 475 farm-raised trout dumped in the Chisolm Park pond in just 60 seconds. The monthly visit by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Division happens across north Texas: trout in the winter catfish in the summer to make sure urban anglers have something to catch. The fish-planting times and dates and locations available online.
"We do the best that we can to make sure the our anglers have plenty of access to the fish that we're stocking because they're paid for by their dollars," said Cynthia Holt, Fisheries Biologist with the Inland Fisheries Division.
But, increasingly in Texas, there is just one problem. Cormorants seem to know when the fish deliveries are arriving too.
"They're a problem everywhere," said Harris. "They'll be up in the trees and as soon as we pull in and dump fish. Man, they're right down on the water."
"We joke that they know the trucks are coming," added Holt. "They either smell them or see them and follow them."
But the deep-diving, fish-eating aquatic birds are federally protected. Anglers have to wait their turn and catch what's left. Wednesday morning, as the 475 trout scattered in the Chisolm Park pond, a dozen or so cormorants ate their fill long before the first human could get a trout on a hook.
But anglers, like Casey Carlton and his kids, did land a fish or two and planned to take them home for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner.
"It's a tasty fish," he said. But he admits he could do without the competition.
"I do not like cormorants," he said with a laugh.
"It is what it is," angler Damon Hannah said. "They have to eat right? I don't have to catch fish to survive. So, it's fair."
"I've never caught a trout. So it would be nice," his mom Charlotte Hannah said.
"I'm still waiting on the first one," laughed Dan Armstrong.
So go online, check the schedule, learn when it's best for you to go fishing. But be ready to watch a cormorant have a successful day fishing too.
"They're investing in their own conservation," said Cynthia Holt said of the humans. "We love our anglers and we definitely want to keep them as happy as we can."