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Free Fishing Day and the Kids Fishing Derby

June 21, 2018

By Chris Erwin
The Department of Fish and Wildlife celebrates a free fishing weekend each year. On this weekend, anyone can fish Kentucky waters without fishing licenses the idea is to get more people into sport fishing as well as letting people experience the fun and opportunities that Kentucky waters offer.

Braxton age 10, Brandon age 10, and Alexis Weaver age 12, of Flemming County displaying their catch near thier fishing spot at the Kids Derby (Photo by Chris Erwin)

This weekend also kicks off kid’s fishing derbies all across the state. I’m sure there was one not too far from wherever you might live in Kentucky. For the eight year, I have covered the one put on at the Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery near Cave Run Lake in Morehead KY.
The casting competition was run by good friend and former 8th District Biologist Fred Howell. Even in retirement Fred continues to donate his time to helping kids and making this event better.

They also had a display of live snakes found in Kentucky. The Licking River Beekeepers had a display explaining the life cycle of honey bees; the US Army and other nature groups all had things for kids to learn.

The carnival feeling event produced a lot of smiling faces on all ages of kids. This year it was reported that 670 kids attended. They were three ponds open to fishing all stocked with catfish, bass; bluegill and these kids had a ball at reeling them in. When it was time to leave the Kentucky Houndsman, had a fish cleaning station set up where they cleaned the fish for free so kids could take their catch home.
By about 11:00, the event comes to a close, the last of the prizes are given away. This is all conducted by Tom Timmermann the 8th District Biologist. I had the pleasure of watching fish after fish wrangled to the bank and added to their stringer. I find I just about had as much fun as the kids.

Alexis Weaver age 12 lands one of her catfish

I try to list the sponsors each year I believe they should get some recognition for their time and money to make this happen each year; this year’s sponsors were:
KY Fish & Wildlife, Walmart of Morehead, US National Forest Service, Kentucky Bank, Kentucky Houndsman Association, US Army Corps of Engineers, Cave Run Marinas, Hiners Bakery, Jenings Septic,
Frito Lay, Coke, Old Seasons Shop, Stokley’s Marine, Morehead Optimist Club, Morehead Chapter NWTF,
Kentuky Silver Muskie Club, KY Conservation Officers Association, KSP Post #8 (Consv Camp Donation),
KDFWR- Camp Webb Staff (Consv Camp Donation), Morehead Tourism, and Advanced disposal.
If you have kids you should plan to come next year it great fun for both the kids and the grown-ups. They always have free food, free drinks and ton of ways for young people to have fun while learning. They also have drawings where they give away fishing tackle, canoes and trips to places like Camp Webb.

Autumn, Madison and Lilliana Click ages two, seven and three along with Arrianna Fraley age two holds their stringers of fish as they prepare to head to the fish cleaning station (photo by Chris Erwin)

As the fishing season moves along I hope you will take a kid fishing, hiking, paddling or some outdoor activity, so they have a chance to fall in love with nature as I did when I was that age. They are the future and the promise for a lasting wild America. Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine

The members of the Kentucky Houndsmen Association man the fishing cleaning station where they clean and bag fish for the kids to take home (photo by Chris Erwin)

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