Ohio Division of Wildlife officials stocked 1,625 rainbow trout into Rocky Fork Lake on Thursday morning in anticipation of Saturday’s annual Highland County Rod and Gun Club Kids Trout Derby.
Twelve of the fish had a small tag placed on their mouth and any kid catching one of them during the hours of the trout derby will receive $100.
In addition to the trout derby, the event will include archery and shotgun shooting, various prizes for the kids, and a light lunch – all free.
The National Weather Service is calling for a mostly sunny day Saturday, but a high temperature of just 51 degrees with southwest winds of 8 to 13 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. There is also a 30 percent chance of rain.
But event officials said it is highly unlikely the event would be postponed because it would be difficult to get the word out to everyone and too many youngsters would be disappointed.
The shooting activities take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the fishing derby is from 1-4 p.m. All equipment for the shooting activities is provided and bait is provided for fishing. But kids planning to fish need to bring their own fishing equipment.
The fish are netted into an area at the docks at the Rocky Fork State Park Campground just off North Shore Drive. Fishing in that area is prohibited before the derby and is limited to youth ages 15 and under during the derby. But the netted area is open to the public once the derby is over and the net usually stays in place until the around the end of April, event organizers said.
The rainbow trout being released at Rocky Fork are part of more than 100,000 trout expected to be released this spring in 64 Ohio public lakes and ponds by the ODNR. The trout are raised at state fish hatcheries and measure 10-13 inches before they are released by the Division of Wildlife. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.
Saturday’s event normally attracts 500 to 700 kids, according to Tim Schlater of the Rod and Gun Club, which sponsors the event along with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and ODNR Division of Wildlife.
“It’s just a great opportunity to expose kids to the outdoor sports and give them a chance to experience something that can turn into a lifelong hobby for them when they grow up,” Schlater said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.