Bradley Lake Park, only one and a half miles from Pierce College Puyallup, contains a 12-acre lake dedicated exclusively to fishing.
Surrounded by woods, picnic shelters, playgrounds, walking trails and two baseball fields, Bradley Lake Park provides a central location for children and adults alike.
Three to four times a year, the lake is re-stocked with 1,000 half-pound trout. These fish are known as triploids, which look, swim and taste like normal fish, except they contain three sets of chromosomes.
“The triploids are genetically altered so they can gain weight but never breed,” Larry Caulk, a fly fisherman who fishes at Bradley Lake, said.
Triploids never develop normal eggs or sperm and are unable to reproduce. This means that none of the fish being reeled in are born in Bradley Lake’s water.
Bradley Lake holds a jamboree every spring after the lake is restocked with the Triploids. During the jamboree, the lake is closed to adults and exclusively designed to give children an opportunity to hone their fishing skills.
A large tanker-like truck restocks Bradley Lake. The truck backs up to the edge of the lake, then releases the fish. The next re-stock will be mid-March.
“In my opinion, I think they need to regulate the general limit of fish people are allowed to keep,” Caulk said. “After the lake is restocked, people fish it out after only a couple weeks.”
Caulk explained his disapproval of bait fishermen because they aren’t aware of the rules so they’re very cruel to the fish. This decreases the rate of survival for the catch-and-release fish.
According to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, fishermen are to take special precautions when release fishing in order to give them the best chance of surviving.
The fish are to be left in their habitat, handled in the water and treated with care after being caught and during release. A hook remover is to be used when hooks are imbedded in the fish’s mouth or jaw and human fingers are to be kept away from the eyes and gills of the fish.
“It’s always the few idiots who ruin it for everyone,” Caulk said. “The lake is for everyone to enjoy, so we have to take care of it.”
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