“He was rarin’ to go,” said his grandfather, Steve Duncan of Portsmouth. “And so were the trout. He had his limit of five before 8 a.m., and two of them were tagged fish. Tickled him to death.”
The fish came too fast to satisfy Caden. He wanted to cull them.
“He wanted me to throw them back so he could keep fishing,” Duncan said. “Pretty soon, though, he was caught up in some other activities rangers had going on with Smoky the Bear.”
Rainbow trout were stocked Friday night by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife aided by the Division of Parks for the derby, sponsored by the Portsmouth Jaycees. The temperature dropped to near 40 degrees overnight and jackets felt good to the crowd of anglers who turned out to fish from the banks and from boats.
Caden fished the area netted off above the footbridge designated for youngsters. This year, instead of measuring fish to determine the winning anglers, some of the fish were tagged and prizes awarded to those youngsters who landed one of them. Later, by early afternoon, the jackets were coming off as sunshine flooded the area.
A half hour before the 1 p.m. awarding of kids’ prizes, Chris Hammond and Ernie Heffner of the Jaycees said only seven of the tagged fish had been caught. They had new rods and reels ready to award the lucky anglers who got them.
There were other prizes, too. The Jaycees handed out 100 Trout Derby T-shirts and were hoping there would be enough to go around.
“I’d like to make sure every kid gets something,” said Shawnee State Park Manager Chris Grupenhof, who was helping with the prizes.
Winners in the adult division were to be determined with a tape measure. That prize ceremony was held at 5 p.m. at the boat ramp parking lot on the lower end of the lake.
The trout derby is for people of all ages, including 3-year-old William Wood and 4-year-old Antionio Johnson. They were trying their luck in a netted off area below the footbridge. They were watched closely by family members as they attempted to get tackle and rods and reels to do what they wanted.
Jeff and Rebecca Daniels of Piketon were fishing in a boat along with their grandson, 9-year-old Dylan Holsinger. They had a live fish basket tied to the side of the boat with several rainbows in it, some going up to 14 inches.
“They’ve been catching them by trolling RoosterTail spinners,” Jeff Daniels said.
Others were using whole grain yellow corn from the can and Powerbait from the jar.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236, or email@example.com.