Area anglers getting early Christmas

FRESNO -- Fresno-area anglers are getting an early Christmas present this year, gift wrapped by the Department of Fish and Game.

Starting Friday, rainbow trout weighing between 4 and 8 pounds apiece will be stocked in the Kings River at several locations below Pine Flat Dam. The river will be stocked for a second time Dec. 26 and every other week through the end of March until 10,000 pounds are planted.

Each stocking will consist of between

200 and 250 trophy-sized trout. The Coleman-strain rainbows, which originate in Northern California, have spent 3 years at the hatchery fattening up on a high-protein diet designed for maximum growth.

"People ask us all year long when we're going to put the big fish in again," said

Greg Paape, manager of the San Joaquin Hatchery in Friant. "They always draw a big crowd."