Trout In The Classroom

Trout in the Classroom is the premier education program for Trout Unlimited for students ranging from elementary school age to senior high school. Here in North Carolina, the program is fully supported by the chapters of the North Carolina of Trout Unlimited Council and by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Eggs are supplied by the commission in the fall when classes begin and stocking permits are issued for the release of the trout fry in the spring for waters approved by the Commission.

Teachers in the program have a wealth of information, support and help at their disposal including tank setup and planning guides, curriculum guides, lesson plans and a network of teaching peers that spans not only our state but the entire nation.  Trout Unlimited maintains a website ( ) with links to a wide array of resources.  In addition, the North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited has a blog set up for the instructors, chapter volunteers and NCWRC staff to act as a clearing house of information and expertise should any questions or issues arise.

Trout in the Classroom is a unique way to teach the relevance of watersheds. Trout are indicator species; and their abundance directly reflects the quality of the water in which they live. In the TIC program, students learn to care about their trout and then the habitat in which trout live.

As the program progresses, students see connections between the trout, water resources, the environment, and themselves. This hands-on, flexible program has won national acclaim and is in place in classrooms internationally. Raising trout in the classroom connects students to water quality and other real-life issues and inspires them to seek solutions to problems

Matt O’Bryant is the Trout in the Classroom committee chair and program coordinator for the state council and can answer all your question on how to get started, and how to find a local chapter to assist you with the program. For those who have helped with a classroom program and been present at the release, there can be little no doubt about the value of the program and the effect it has on students and teachers alike.

Presently, there are 81 Trout In the Classroom programs operating statewide. Some are in a single use classroom and are viewed only by that particular class while many are in public areas where they are observed daily by hundreds of students. In our estimation, Trout In the Classroom affects close to 10,000 students across the state; impressing upon them the delicate balances of nature and the importance of ensuring a future with clean, cold water.


Live Portion of TIC Cancelled for the 20/21 School Year

A message from North Carolina TIC Program Coordinator, Matt O’Bryant

Greetings all teachers, TIC coordinators, and volunteers,

First, I hope this message finds everyone doing well in these unusual times.

With a heavy heart and discussion with the NCTU Board, I have decided that the live trout portion of Trout in the Classroom is cancelled for the 20/21 school year. The reasons for this decision are as follows:

  • After speaking with a few teachers from around the state; several schools have cancelled all field trips for the 20/21 academic year. This makes obtaining the trout release permits difficult.
  • Several school systems have instituted a “zero visitors” policy. Therefore, setting up tanks and delivering eggs would be challenging in the least. Having volunteers to help troubleshoot fish tank systems during the year would be difficult to accomplish as well. This policy alone places unnecessary stress on our teachers and volunteers.
  • The issue of sanitizer use in classrooms. Past experiences have shown that small traces of sanitizer absorbed into the aquarium will cause a fish kill.
  • The possibility of closing schools to all remote learning. Like the canceled field trips, this makes coordinating the release of trout difficult.
  • Many of our TU volunteers have expressed concern about their own health in regard to going to public schools.

All chapter TIC coordinators should reach out to their teachers and let them know this decision as soon as you can. Also, please discuss what help can be offered to the teachers to store the fish tanks and equipment safely.

In order to maintain a presence in our schools; I encourage teachers to use our website ( to obtain lesson plans and activities. Please reach out to your teachers periodically throughout the year and let them know we plan to be back as soon as conditions improve.