Low water level should mean easy pickings at Saturday's Trout Rodeo

Jeff Bobo • Sep 15, 2016 at 2:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — Dry weather has the water level at Church Hill’s Alexander Creek down pretty low, but that’s not expected hinder Saturday’s annual Trout Rodeo at Jaycee’s Park.

In fact, that’s probably going to make for better fishing because there will be fewer places for the fish to hide.

On Friday afternoon, about 500 trout weighing between a half-pound and 2.5 pounds will be dumped into the section of Alexander Creek that runs through Jaycee’s Park on North Central Avenue in Church Hill.

The trout dump is in anticipation of the Trout Rodeo, which begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday for children between the ages of 4 and 16.

Church Hill’s annual Trout Rodeo attracts as many as 300 children who start arriving as early as 6 a.m. to stake to their spots on the creek bank.

Rodeo veterans know where the “holes” are and where the fish congregate.

In the past, the city placed nets in the creek on both ends of the park to contain the fish. In recent years, however, city workers have built temporary dams in the creek, trapping fish in eight separate sections.

“We’ve got different sections with fish in them,” said Tim Wilson, director of Church Hill/Mount Carmel/Surgoinsville Recreation. “It gives kids an opportunity to fish in one of those sections. The fish aren’t roaming so far. We’ll dam it up in about eight 40-foot sections.”

Last year there was more rain, and the creek was deeper. Wilson said damming it this year will cause it to fill up a little bit more, but it’s still probably going to be a rough day for the fish.

“Some sections of that creek are deeper than others,” he added. “With the water level down, the fishing may be a little easier this year. They might be able to see the fish this year, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll bite.”

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

Boys and girls trophies for first catch of the day and first to catch the limit of three will be awarded in three age groups: 4-7, 8-11 and 12-16. An overall trophy will also be given to the child who catches the largest fish of the day.

There will be free drawings for a boys and girls bicycle for each age group, as well as drawings for other prizes such as fishing poles and tackle boxes.

There will also be free doughnuts, cold drinks and coffee.

The event is free and open for everyone attend.

Wilson said the dams will be kept up a few days after the rodeo, and the public is welcome to try catching any leftover trout.

For more information about the Trout Rodeo, call (423) 357-7010.