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Chester County Press

Plenty of fish biting at the annual Trout Rodeo

05/02/2024 12:38PM ● By Chris Barber

The fish were biting at Anson B. Nixon Park on Saturday thanks to the trout stocking two days earlier by the staff at the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance.

The 28th annual Trout Rodeo that day attracted about 200 eager anglers, many of them in family units. The event has been held every year during the last weekend in April for almost three decades and routinely presents awards to the participants who have hooked the largest fish and the heaviest total weight. The trophies are given by age groups.

The trout rodeo is very popular locally and even regionally. Some participants reported coming from as far away as West Grove, West Chester and Devon.

Brandywine Red Clay Alliance executive director Jim Jordan has been the organizer for the most recent years, and, as usual he was on hand to move the activities along and to do some fishing himself.

Jordan said he is a strong believer in the rodeo because it promotes family unity and gets kids outside to appreciate nature.

“We do it solely to see the kids in their families – sometimes with three generations,” Jordan said. “You know, a grandpa isn’t going to go out and play soccer with his grandkids, but they can fish together. I never saw a kid in trouble with a fishing rod.”

He said was heartened to see parents teaching their children how to reel in a fish and cast a line.

The trout rodeo was an economical recreational activity as well. Admission was $5 for adults and $3 for children. All of the net proceeds were contributed to KAPA, Kennett Area Park Authority, for development of the park

The waters were well supplied with trout from the Cedar Springs Trout Hatchery of Mill Hall. Jordan said he ordered 648 of various trout species, including rainbows, goldens and brooks.

The weather was fair and cool. The anglers were enthusiastic when they or their children hooked a trout.

On hand were many regulars who had been coming to the trout rodeo event for years, including the grandson (Al) and great-grandson (Austin) of Al Weeks, the late athletic director at Avon Grove High School. That family comes every year and routinely makes a big catch.

Another fisherman said he had just seen a giant snapping turtle in the water and recalled that last year, after he caught his trout, a giant turtle leaped out of the water and bit off its face as he was pulling it out of the water.

Also on hand was he usual flock of geese, which are currently nesting with eggs around the ponds, as well as the tree swallows swooping around to pay a visit. On quieter occasions, a couple of herons and some deer drop in at the park. Anson B. Nixon Park sits along North Walnut Street on the boundary between Kennett Square and Kennett Township.

The Brandywine Red Clay Alliance business center is on Unionville-Wawaset Road in Pocopson. It offers activities for youth and adults all year long while advocating for conservation.