Eager anglers return for the 25th Trout Rodeo05/02/2022 01:36PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The anglers who arrived at the Trout Rodeo on Saturday were so eager to cast their lines that many of them arrived a half hour before the starting siren. Seconds after the signal sounded and their hooks hit the water, quite a few of them succeeded in reeling in early catches.
The 25th annual Trout Rodeo presented by the Kennett Area Park Authority (KAPA) and the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance returned to Anson B. Nixon Park after a two-year absence caused by COVID-19 precautions. After the event finished up at noon, the count of participants was about 300, an attendance that was pleasing to the organizers.
The two small lakes on the property were stocked with trout on Thursday, April 28. The fish came from Laurel Hill Trout Farm Inc. in Newville, and Russ, the driver, numbered the delivery at between 400 and 500.
Volunteers and staff from the two agencies then dumped the trout, many of them gold and others unusually large, bucketful-by-bucketful into the lakes on the property. After the stocking, they posted warning signs to the public to delay individual fishing until the rodeo was over.
The trout rodeo, always a popular event, attracted many participants including grandparents, parents and grandchildren. It appeared that a majority of the adults were seasoned fishermen, and, amazingly, even the very youngest showed experience in casting their lines. All participants over 16 years old had to have licenses, and admission was $5 for children and $20 for adults.
Awards were given for the biggest individual and combined catches in three categories of young children, older children and adults. In previous years there were also cash prizes, but this year it was trophies only.
Brandywine Red Clay executive director Jim Jordan said the organizers decided that competition for the catch was reward and incentive enough. Proceeds from the registrations went to maintenance of the park.
When asked, most of those who were fishing said they planned to cook and eat the trout.
Kahn Bond of West Grove said, “I smoke them, but first I marinate them in soy and ginger a day before.”
Raul Perales of Kennett Square said, “Dinner’s going to be good tonight.”
The morning dawned cold, but the water looked algae-free and sparkled in the sunlight.
Brandywine Red Clay Watershed Conservation Director Brian Winslow was on hand for the stocking and the rodeo. He said that in recent years there have been at least 10 projects to enhance the quality of the Red Clay water, including two recently in the park to shore up the stream banks.
Jordan said he is optimistic they are moving in the right direction for growing purity of the water, and even now the Red Clay has hosted annual trout stocking in the Delaware end of the stream.
KAPA business manager Sheila Tekavec, who handled the registration, said she was pleased with the turnout and heartened that the online registration set a record.
Richard Lyon is chairman of the Kennett Area Park Authority, and David Schurr was in charge of the trout rodeo.