There's something fishy going on in Dundalk, and Michael Francis is thrilled about it.
Mr. Francis was the driving force behind yesterday's first stocking of Dundalk's Stansbury Pond with 500 rainbow trout. An avid angler, Mr. Francis lives two blocks from the man-made pond in Stansbury Park near Lynch Cove and fantasized about its prospects as a trout fishing hole during walks with his three children along the water's edge.
"I've always thought of this as being a nice place to fish trout," said Mr. Francis, who has lived in Stanbrook for 10 years. "So I contacted my friend Jake."
It helped that his friend "Jake" is Del. Jake Mohorovic, a Dundalk Democrat. After receiving Mr. Francis' request in March, Mr. Mohorovic's office contacted the state Department of Natural Resources which, in turn, declared the water suitable for trout.
The department plans to stock more than 400,000 trout in area waters, with "plantings" in fall and spring, officials said. The trout-stocking program is funded by fees paid by anglers -- $10 for a fishing license and $5 for a trout stamp, said Steve Early, associate director of Freshwater Fisheries.
"The metro area is where most of the license holders live," Mr. Early said. "It's good to be able to stock in areas that are more accessible to them."
Dressed in a tan vest sporting several lures, Mr. Francis went to the pond yesterday with his wife and daughter, Erica, 3.
"This is the way representative government is supposed to work and I'm really happy that it has," Mr. Francis said.
But the truck transporting the fish from a Hagerstown hatchery didn't arrive on time, and Mr. Francis anxiously paced the pond pier.
A half-dozen other fishing enthusiasts also were there, trying to hook the white perch, bass and catfish already in the pond.
"We heard about the trout," said Esther Kalfas. "I only live right down the street from here but usually I go to other places."
The rainbow trout arrived about 11:30 a.m., an hour behind schedule, and were dumped by the bucketful into the pond.
Officials said the limit is two trout a day. They said the trout probably won't reproduce because the water is too warm, but the pond will be restocked.
Fittingly, Mr. Francis caught the first trout moments after they all had wiggled and flopped into the pond, believed to be 60 feet deep at its center.
"I didn't expect to catch any today because I didn't expect for them to be biting," Mr. Francis said.
"This makes it even better."