Students release fish into Carson River |

Students release fish into Carson River

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Fritsch Elementary School student Michael Freeman, 8, plants a trout in the Carson River on Tuesday morning. Five second-grade classes converged on the Ambrose Recreation Area to learn about the river and the trout.

It was rainy and cold, but the conditions could not stop Mathias Williams from saying his final words to a juvenile trout as he released it into the Carson River on Tuesday morning from the confines of a small plastic cup.

“Bye, Twinkie,” he said, and walked away.

Mathias, 8, was one of 114 second-graders from five classes at Fritsch Elementary School releasing juvenile trout, called fry, into the Carson River at the Ambrose Natural Area.

“I like Twinkies,” said Mathias, explaining his name of choice for his fish. “When I first saw him, I thought he looked like a Twinkie.”

His were some of the most affectionate words said to a fry. Most students poured their fish into the water and went off in search of a warmer place – like a chaperoning parent.

“My face is freezing,” said Adan Franco, 8, after releasing his fish.

Jonathan Deloa was so excited about the trip to the Carson River that he insisted his mom take the day off from work and come.

“It felt good (to release him) because they’re small and they can live in the water,” said Jonathan, who picked up tiny pieces of shell he found along the sandy shoreline.

Students have raised the trout in their classroom since late January. The first step is to protect the eggs for several days from light, which can kill them. After they hatch, the students feed the fish and watch them grow.

“I like how they were really small and then they got bigger and then they got bigger and then really big,” Mathias said.

The trout are available through the Nevada Division of Wildlife. For the past six years, teacher Lori Tureson has raised the fish with her second-grade students even though the program is typically used in fifth-grade classrooms. Tureson said she was happy that all of the second-grade classrooms were involved this year.

“The kids learn so much from this program,” she said. “They learn to respect nature and learn the value of it.”

Students rotated through three stations set up at Ambrose – the first was the trout release, the second was a presentation on the water cycle and the third was an art area for students to draw the habitat they saw.

The water cycle station was led by Mary Kay Riedl, an environmental scientist for the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection. She encouraged children to watch what they put into the water system.

“It’s up to everyone to do our part to keep it clean,” she said. “Anything you throw out in the water has the potential to pollute it.”

• Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.