More than 800 pounds of trout were stocked into Harmony Lake at Hillsboro’s Liberty Park on Monday afternoon in anticipation Family Fishing Day that will be held Saturday.
New fishing poles will be provided to the first 200 kids age 15 and under to register, along with tackle including bobbers, hooks, weights and bait.
The event is hosted by the city of Hillsboro with help from several sponsors.
Jason Bernard, a city employee who helps organize the event along with Kyle Clemmons and Gary Lewis, said it started two years ago when Lewis secured a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for fishing education. Now Walmart funds the event while Nickles Bakery supplies the buns, the Hillsboro Elks provide money for food, Frito Lay provides snacks and Pepsi provides drinks and a concession cart.
Registration and fishing pole distribution is from 11 a.m. to noon. The Trout Fishing Derby, for kids age 15 and under, is from noon to 4 p.m. Fishing will be opened to all ages at the conclusion of the derby, but anyone 16 or older must have a valid fishing license.
Since there is now a shelter house at Harmony Lake, Bernard said that as opposed to past years, registration and other activities will now take place at the shelter house.
“We just enjoy giving the kids, and a lot of them don’t get these kinds of opportunities, the chance to come out and catch some fish and provide them with some gear that they can use all summer long. We just enjoy giving them an opportunity,” Bernard said.
Last year 715 pounds of trout were stocked into Harmony Lake for the event and organizers estimated that 250 to 300, or about two-thirds of the fish, were caught by the kids.
Bernard said there were more trout stocked this year and that they appeared to weigh in the 1.5 to 3 or 4 pounds range.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.