In any given year, golfers splash about 2,000 balls into the pond that sits in front of Bangor Municipal Golf Course’s second hole, according to club pro Brian Enman.
But on Wednesday afternoon, it was brook trout — not golf balls — that were splashing around in the water hazard, as a hatchery crew from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife tossed buckets full of trout — 150 in all — into the water.
And on Sunday, children are invited to come to the course and fish for those trout, some of which are 16 inches long and weigh more than a pound.
Bangor Muni has teamed up with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create a free kids fishing day, which will run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Children are invited to attend, but must come with a parent. Young anglers are also responsible for providing their own equipment, including bait.
Enman said Bangor Muni has never hosted a fishing event in the small pond. The project was the brainchild of his assistant pro, Rob Jarvis, and DIF&W fisheries biologist Wes Ashe.
And a new professional affiliation made the project make perfect sense.
“In the last couple of years, we became Audubon-certified, and they like anyone that is with their programs to do outreach programs,” Enman explained.
Ashe said he and Jarvis grew up and attended school together in Bangor, and a dinner conversation a few months back led to the event.
“The second hole on Muni has what we figure is an acre and a half pond, and we said, ‘Why don’t we jam pack that full of brook trout and have some kids fish ‘em out of there?’”
Ashe works out of the DIF&W’s Belgrade Lakes region, which includes Bangor. He said that the department has recently begun stocking brook trout in a number of small, shallow ponds in the area, with the goal of providing the opportunity for anglers to catch and keep fish.
“A lot of our waters are put-and-take waters,” he explained, describing the practice of stocking fish in a pond where biologists don’t expect much, if any, year-to-year survival of the fish that are stocked. “We want people to be able to catch them.”
The state has stocked a number of youth-only ponds, where children under the age of 16 are the only ones allowed to fish. Those ponds usually have good shore access, and children are able to catch fish without heading out in a boat.
Enman said that in order to make the footing easier for children, his crew has cut the grass that typically fronts the pond. On Wednesday, crews were putting the finishing touches on that work.
“This is just a great pond for kids,” Ashe said. “If we get a good turnout, and I hope we will, I would say 90 percent of the those fish could be harvested on [Sunday].”
During the stocking, 100 fall fingerlings averaging around 8 inches long and 50 fall yearlings, 12 to 16 inches long, were introduced into the pond, which is about 12 feet deep at its deepest.
Ashe said anglers who bring along some worms — a bobber could also help — would likely have good luck, although he said lures would work fine, too.
The biologist will be on hand with DIF&W stickers to give away.
And Enman said young anglers (and their parents) need not worry about getting hit by errant golf balls: A “cross country” tournament is scheduled for Sunday, but the route of play won’t take golfers near the pond.
Enman said he’s looking forward to the event, both personally and professionally.
“I know my grandkids are coming out. I would think that the kids and adults would have a ball,” Enman said.
And he encourages anglers to keep a fish or two.
“That [pond] freezes up pretty solid during the winter, so we want [the trout] out of there and on somebody’s dinner table,” Enman said.