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Hundreds of visitors line a stream with fishing poles
Information icon Children and their families surround Hatchery Creek during the 32nd Annual Catch a Rainbow Kids’ Fishing Derby. Photo of Ashley Buffington, USFWS.

Wolf Creek hosts 32nd Annual Catch a Rainbow Kids’ Fishing Derby

Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery hosted its 32nd annual Catch a Rainbow Kids’ Fishing Derby in Jamestown, Kentucky on June 2. Each year, this event coincides with National Boating and Fishing Week and Free Fishing Weekend in Kentucky, offering residents and non-residents the opportunity to fish Kentucky waters without a license or permit.

A young girl smiles wide holding a rope tied to five beautiful rainbow trout.
Alexandria Bevans, age 5, proudly shows off her catches. Photo by Ashley Buffington, USFWS

Since the derby’s beginning in 1986, it has grown into one of the largest of its kind in the nation. More than 1,225 youths, aged 15 and under, participated this year, with families from around the state, adjacent states such as Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee, and some from as far away as Georgia and Florida. Approximately 3,500 13-inch rainbow trout were stocked in the kiddie pools and in Hatchery Creek several hours prior to the event. In addition, personnel stocked Hatchery Creek with 200 surplus rainbow and brook trout broodstock from Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Tennessee. Most children caught at least one fish, with many catching their limit of five.

While children eagerly awaited their fishing time, most ventured to the Kids’ Corner for other outdoor activities such as archery, casting, basketball, and face-painting. After each age group had finished fishing, a drawing for outdoor-oriented prizes such as fishing poles, sleeping bags, and tents was held. Every participant took home a reusable drawstring bag and reusable Friends of Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery water bottle. All attendees were offered complimentary hot dogs, chips, drinks, and snow cones.

In addition to Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery staff, dedicated Friends of Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery officers and members, more than 100 devoted volunteers, and more than 100 generous sponsors, were instrumental in the support and planning for this event. Other groups that helped ensure the success of included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Team, Russell County EMS, Kentucky Division of Forestry, and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

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