She knew what was on the menu and it was as if she knew when dinner would be served.

A beautiful osprey and incredible fisher-bird, she glided on light breeze currents, circling the pond at Chesapeake’s Northwest River Park.

On the shoreline, Department of Wildlife Resources driver Eric Wooding was opening the value on his tanker truck, letting lose 2,000 rainbow and brown trout as part of the department’s annual urban fishing program.

Wooding, the hatchery manager at the department’s Coursey Springs Hatchery west of Charlottesville, had driven all morning. He had stopped at the Hampton’s Armistead Point Park pond to stock before heading to Chesapeake.

A group of anglers both young and old had been waiting all morning for the delivery, setting up shop along the pond’s shoreline. Chairs and fishing tackle in hand, they were waiting patiently for the chance to catch freshwater trout without having to drive to mountain streams.

The urban stocking program was started in the 1990s, but discontinued for a few years because of budget cutbacks. To the delight of the 30-or-so anglers, it was restarted in 2008.

Anglers must have a freshwater fishing license and a trout stamp to be able to fish. Once an angler catches their limit of four trout measuring at least 7 inches each, the rules say they must stop fishing.

“Some of these folks will be here every day,” said department fisheries biologist Chad Boyce, who was on hand to monitor the stocking. “We’ll do catfish in the  summer.

“It’s a novelty fishery, but it’s become very popular.”

After Wooding had emptied all four tanks on his truck, he closed up shop, finished off a soda and prepared for the four-hour drive home.

Anglers got busy almost instantly, casting their lures and bait in anticipation. Some trout were still swimming near the surface as they acclimated themselves to their new home.

But it wouldn’t be long before they started to take offerings because they hadn’t been fed for a couple of days.

The osprey didn’t care.

She quickly spotted on of the trout and made her move, pulling her wings back and diving at the water’s surface – clawing herself a nice fish before flying back to her nest.

She’d be back.

After all, she’s the queen of the urban fishing program.

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