By Kris Testori
The 43rd Blowing Rock Trout Derby is happening on Saturday, April 1. This year there are two ways to participate; the Classic Tournament and the Catch and Release Tournament. Participants do not have to pre-register and there are no entry fees.
The Classic Tournament begins at sunrise on April 1, 2023, and ends at 4:00 PM. Trout caught in any public Watauga County body of water on April 1 can be entered for measuring. Catches should be taken to the Official Derby Headquarters by 4:00 PM for measuring. Derby headquarters are located in the Blowing Rock Clubhouse, at 108 Lakeside Drive.
Catch and Release participants must register at the Official Derby Headquarters starting at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, 2023. Each participant will be given a measuring tape to measure their catches. To participate in the Catch and Release, participants must take a time-stamped photo measuring their catch in order for it to be considered for judging. All time-stamped photos must be entered into Derby Headquarters by 4:00 p.m. for judging. Fish caught in all public water in Watauga, Ashe, and Avery counties are eligible. Single-hook artificial lures only.
For both tournaments, all fishing and wildlife laws should be followed for Watauga County public waters, including possession of a valid fishing license and following all posted regulations. To get a fishing license online go to TakeMeFishing.org
Children 11 and under and persons with disabilities may fish at Broyhill Park’s Mayview Lake, where no fishing license is needed. There is a limit of three fish per person from Mayview Lake which is stocked and some of the fish are tagged for special prizes.
Speckled Trout Outfitters is sponsoring the 2023 Trout Derby and have added a full day of activities in their parking lot, including free casting instruction. They are hosting the awards ceremony and an after-party beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The North Carolina Wildlife Commission supports the Blowing Rock Trout Derby with free “Fish for Fun” bags for kids available at the Derby Headquarters. The bags include a tackle box, regulation book, bumper sticker, stringer, and bobber. Children will also receive an official Derby T-shirt.
Kids are also invited to participate in an art contest, where the winning art will be featured on next year’s Event Poster and T-Shirt. Kids may create their art in advance or on-site and submit it at Derby Headquarters on April 1st before 2 p.m.; entries should be no larger than standard 8.5 by 11-inch paper. All art submissions are hung on the walls inside Derby Headquarters, where local judges select the winner at the end of the Derby.
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