In what has become an annual spring break event, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be opening the gates to The Nature Center for youth fishing March 13-16.

Located between Tyler and Whitehouse on Farm to Market 848, the department and local partners are stocking 2,000 rainbow trout for the free fishing event.

There is a limit of five per angler; however, participants also will be able to keep one catfish they catch.

“Anglers have the choice of releasing their catch or keeping their daily limit; however, the trout cannot survive after water gets warm, so, we encourage anglers to harvest their fish,” said Richard Ott, inland fisheries biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “If anglers want to dress their fish, we will have ice and fish-cleaning facilities available at the event courtesy of the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation.”
The event is to introduce youth to fishing. So, while adults may fish, they must have a youth under 17 participating with them. All youth must also be accompanied by an adult.A fishing license is not required of anyone fishing The Nature Center. There will be some fishing gear available on site along with help cleaning fish and ice to pack catches in.

Anglers should bring an ice chest to take fish home. For those bringing their own gear, it should include light-weight rods and reels, with light line (less than 10-pound test strength) and small hooks. Baits can range from artificial in-line spinners to commercially-prepared trout bait or whole kernel corn, marshmallows or small worms, which can be fished using a bobber and light weight.

Fishing will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day regardless of weather. Along with fishing, The Nature Center has a number of walking trails that will also be open to visitors.

For those not able to attend on the days the center is open, another option is Tyler’s Woldert Park Pond, which is a part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Neighborhood Fishing program. The pond was stocked this winter with trout and is continuously stocked throughout the year with channel catfish. Youth 16 and younger are not required to have a license to fish at Woldert Park.

The Nature Center can be found by taking Spur 248 (University Boulevard) to F.M. 848 (Bascom Road), take a right and go two-tenths of a mile to the entrance on the right.