Kids will be able to try their hand at shooting real guns and bows and arrows, plus catch some rainbow trout – 12 of them with $100 tags, when the Highland County Rod and Gun Club holds its annual Kids Trout Derby on April 7 at Rocky Fork State Park.
Approximately 1,500 rainbow trout will be stocked into a netted area at the park campground shortly before the derby. Twelve of them will be tagged and will be worth $100 to any youngster that catches one during the derby hours.
Kids will also to have the chance to shoot .410-gauge, 20-gauge and 12-gauge shotguns, plus several different types and sizes of bows. Those events will be supervised by wildlife officers and 4-H shooting sports instructors.
The shooting activities are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be located just across North Shore Drive from the Rocky Fork Campground boat docks, where the fishing derby is held. The fishing derby runs from 1-4 p.m.
Kids should bring their own fishing equipment. Several varieties of bait, plus the guns, bows and ammunition will be provided. No one should bring guns, bows or ammunition to the event.
The first 500 kids to register for the event will receive a door prize. Tim Schlater, a Rod and Gun Club member who helps organize the event, said there will be 25 to 30 larger prizes like tackle boxes, backpacks or rod and reel sets that will given away, while the other prizes will be things like fishing lures.
“They will draw a ticket and if they get lucky enough they’ll get one of the bigger prizes,” Schlater said.
Free hot dogs, chips, soft drinks, water, coffee and hot chocolate will also be available.
All the activities and food are free.
The rain day for the trout derby is Sunday, April 8.
“We want young children to enjoy the outdoor sports of hunting and fishing and we think this is an excellent way to introduce kids to that,” Schlater said. “Some kids would probably never have an opportunity to shoot a shotgun or a bow and arrow, and this may lead to a lifelong enjoyment of hunting and fishing.”
Fishing during the derby is restricted to youth 15 years old and younger. After 4 p.m. the fishing is open to public for all ages. A fishing license is required for those 16 years of age or older.
Co-sponsors of the event are the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
As of last week the Rod and Gun did not have any sponsors for the tagged fish. Anyone interested in sponsoring a fish can call Schlater at 937-403-5811.
Throughout the spring the ODNR Division of Wildlife will release more than 100,000 rainbow trout at 64 Ohio public lakes and ponds.
Some of the other area locations and dates include:
• Adams Lake in Adams County on March 2.
• Caldwell Lake in Ross County on March 29.
• Yoctangee Park in Chillicothe on April 14.
• Pike Lake in Pike County on April 16.
• Eyman Park in Washington C.H. on April 28.
• Stonelick Lake in Clermont County on May 5.
The Yoctangee Park, Eyman Park and Stone Lick Lake releases also have special events associated with them.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.