By Nanda Olney
Jeff Ozimek, outdoor adventure program manager for the Bainbridge Island parks district, is the man behind the yearly stocking of hundreds of trout in the tranquil Battle Point Park pond. Though the pond is a public fishing spot, it is primarily stocked for the annual Youth Fly Fishing Expo, held this year on May 19.
Although the fish were originally delivered by a large truck and chute, Ozimek now requests a smaller truck to help minimize damage to the park’s natural surroundings. The fish rainbow trout, a non invasive species that come from the Nisqually Trout Farms in Olympia are hand delivered to the water via 5 pound buckets.
Ozimek suspects that the pond was stocked at some point with brown trout, a hardier species. “There are still some old grandmas and grandpas in there,” he said, including legendary Old Chuck, a particularly large trout that was on at least one occasion caught and photographed before being released. Ozimek encourages anglers to help preserve the island resource by using barbless hooks and releasing their catches.
The island’s Youth Fly Fishing Expo is Ozimek’s brainchild and was conceived to encourage kids to get outdoors. He sees the joy on their faces when they catch a fish. “That,” he said, “is what it’s all about.”