On September 23, 2023, the Mammoth Spring NFH hosted its annual Fish Fest Fishing Derby to celebrate National Fish and Hunting Day. The Hatchery stocked one of its production ponds with channel catfish and bluegill for youth to enjoy. Kids under 15 years old were provided an opportunity to catch fish. The event was visited by over 400 individuals, around 260 were youth anglers. This event became one of the largest attended fishing event gatherings at Mammoth Spring NFH. All anglers and families were lined up around the derby pond, excited to get their chance at catching a fish.
Other activities were also provided at the Hatchery during the event, including fly-tying and fly-fishing casting training. Air archery and BB gun shooting arenas were also available to test the aim of the visitors. A face painting station was also available, where kids could showcase their favorite fishes. Lastly, the Friends of the Mammoth Spring NFH provided hot dogs, chips, and water to the visiting public, which was cooked and served by the Mammoth Spring School Betta Club. In all, Hatchery staff had over 22 volunteers help prepare and manage the event’s activities.
Volunteer groups assisting included the Friends of Mammoth Spring NFH, Mammoth Spring School District, Missouri State University, public from the local communities of Thayer, Missouri, and Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, and the Mammoth Spring State Hatchery. This event went very smoothly, which is due to the overwhelming support from our great community coming together to support the hatchery’s efforts to connect people with nature.