By Paul T. Choate
April 8, 2013. Two of the High Country’s most popular fishing tournaments, the 34th annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby and the sixth annual Henson Chapel United Methodist Church Fishing Tournament, took place this past Saturday, April 6, and both saw some lunkers pulled out of local waters.
Any trout caught in Watauga County public waters was eligible during the Blowing Rock Trout Derby. Catches were taken to the official derby headquarters at the Blowing Rock American Legion Building on Wallingford Street, where cash and prizes were awarded at 4:30 p.m. (full list of standings below story).
Joshua and Kim Hodges took first place in the men’s and women’s division, with both catching 19.5-inch trouts — a brown for Joshua and a rainbow for Kim — from Middle Fork of New River. Both fish were tied for the largest of the day in any division. Brandon Coffey took first place in the boy’s division with a 19-inch rainbow trout caught in Watauga River. In the girls division, Paige Bolick took first and second place for a 16-inch and 17-inch brook trout, both caught in Wildcat Lake. In the youth or “Small Fry” divsion, Connor Williamson’s 14.5-inch rainbow trout caught at Broyhill Lake was good for first place.
In all, 150 fish were registered by 60 participants in the derby, according to Amanda Lugenbell, Blowing Rock Visitor Center assistant director.
“It seemed like a really good turnout with over 100 fish brought in,” Lugenbell said.
Over in Vilas at the Henson Chapel UMC Fishing Tournament, attendees were pulling some good-sized fish out of Cove Creek as well. According to Sonny Sweet, tournament organizer, the largest fish of the day happened to be the first one pulled out of the water at 7:30 a.m. — a 17-inch brown trout.
Sweet said he felt like everyone who came out seemed to be having a good time.
“I didn’t see anyone frowning,” Sweet said. “I saw a few kids shivering about 7:30 a.m. but luckily it warmed up.”
In total, Sweet said about 50 kids turned out for the tournament.
Throughout the fishing season, the High Country provides a wealth of great fishing locations. So, whether it’s for sport or for supper, it’s always easy to get your big catch.
Blowing Rock Trout Derby Full Standings
First- Joshua Hodges, 19.5 inch Brown from Middle Fork of New River
Second- James Triplett, 19 inch Rainbow from South Fork of New River
Third- Ronald Pennell, 17 inch Rainbow from New River
Fourth- Mark Pennell, 12.875 inch Brook from New River
First- Kim Hodges, 19.5 inch Rainbow from Middle Fork of New River
Second- Kerrie Triplett, 10.25 inch Rainbow from Watauga River
First- Brandon Coffey, 19 inch Rainbow from Watauga River
Second- Joseph Wohisnant, 12.5 inch Brook from Middle Fork, off of U.S. 321
Third- Brandon Coffey, 12.0 inch Brown from Middle Fork
First and Second- Paige Bolick, 17 inch Brook and 16 inch Brook from Wildcat Lake
Third- Parris Bolick, 13 inch Brook @ Wildcat Lake
First- Connor Williamson, 14.5 inch Rainbow @ Broyhill Lake
Second- Daisy Whittington, 14.375 Rainbow @ Broyhill Lake
Third- Johnny Miller, 14.25 inch Rainbow @ Broyhill Lake
Fourth- Maddie Leonard, 14.125 inch Rainbow @ Broyhill Lake
Photos by Lonnie Webster