When Mark and Jean Hanson
toss handfuls of feed into their tree-shaded pond, the surface of the
water "bubbles" with the gyrations of hungry trout. At Century Trout Farm,
located two miles south of Oregon at 882 State Highway 14 in southern Dane
County, the fish are biting.
Other than a sign a the road touting trout fishing, this farm looks like hundreds of other well-kept former dairy farms. Behind
a program to develop farm ponds. Over the next two years, the
Sholts family dug out the spring-fed pond–making it 13 feet at the
center–created a berm around it and installed an overflow pipe that
connected to two smaller, newly dug ponds downhill from the first.
Sholts bought trout to stock the quarter-acre upper pond.
"They started getting bigger, and he put a sign at the road, and people started coming," Jean says.
| Sholts was an amicable
man involved in community affairs, including the Oregon
School board, and people came as much to fish as to visit with her father, she says. By the mid-1960s, he had established a "sideline" enterprise that complemented his more traditional farming operation.
In 1968, Jean moved back to the farm from Neenah, where she had worked as a teacher, and she began teaching business classes in the
| the dairy
barn, though the manicured park-like setting breathes pure, quiet
relaxation and enjoyment for anglers of all ages.
Jean Hanson's father, Ralph W. Sholts, bought the 160 acre farm from relatives in 1929 and operated a dairy, livestock and crop farm for 66 years. Family members have owned the farm for over 140 years.
What is now an idyllic area, with the trout pond as its centerpiece, was once a hog lot with a shallow pond.
"As kids, we played down here, and the springs would bubble up," Jean recalls.
In 1960, the USDA's Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation office offered
|FISH ARE BITING - Water "bubbles" with hungry trout as Mark Hanson tosses feed into Century Trout Farm's pond.|
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