Smarter, bigger fish make Church Hill's Trout Rodeo a 'reel' challenge

Jeff Bobo • Sep 18, 2016 at 9:00 AM


CHURCH HILL — The fish dumped into Alexander Creek for Saturday’s annual Trout Rodeo were apparently smarter than the average trout, making the fishing quite a bit more challenging for the 125 youngsters who participated this year.

However, there were some children up to the challenge.

Aiden Skelton and Hunter Housewright tied for the biggest catch of the day at one pound, seven ounces each.

There were also trophies given away in three age groups for boys and girls for the first catch of the day and the first to catch their limit of three.

In the first catch of the day category, the winners were Audrey Henley and Evan Schunn (4-7), Stella Barrett and Cole Evans (8-11), and Laura Cardinas and Tyler Evans (12-16).

In the first to catch their limit category the winners were Sierra Williams and Evan Schunn (4-7), Jade Hall and Jacob Henley (8-11), and Erin Britton and Matt McNutt (12-16).

There were 125 children registered for Saturday’s rodeo, which began at 8:30 a.m. and lasted 90 minutes. Despite the perfect weather, the crowd was down from last year, when 175 fishermen participated.

East Hawkins Parks and Rec director Tim Wilson said 430 fish were dumped, which is also lower than usual.

“We usually get 500, but this year we had a bunch of bigger fish, so they couldn’t bring as many this year,” Wilson said. “Last year the fish were a little bit smaller. Average of about a pound and five ounces this year.”

The best fishing seemed to be around the several temporary manmade dams placed in the creek to hold in the fish and raise the low water level.

A group of boys fishing off the bridge were having quite a bit of good luck as well.

But there were also quite a few fishermen getting skunked during the competition, and some were thrilled just to reel in one for the day.

“I’m guessing there are some around 2.5 pounds,” Wilson said. “They’re in there. Just a little bit smarter than the smaller ones.”

The event was sponsored by VFW Post 9754, and the fish were supplied by Buffalo Springs Fish Hatchery. Other sponsors include CASVA Angus Farm and Food City.

After the event, there were a trophy ceremony and drawings for free bicycles, fishing poles and tackle boxes.

The dams are going to be kept in place for a few days, and the public is invited to fish out the remaining “smarter” trout.