By Jesse Wood
April 7, 2014. More than 100 people participated in the 35th annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby on Saturday that lasted from sunrise to 4:30 p.m. and included prizes for those catching the biggest fish in the categories for men, women, boys, girls and “small fries” – those 11 years old and younger.
The spring morning began cold and windy, but Emma Grace Hamilton – in the small fries category – got off to a fast start, catching the first fish of the tournament at “7 o’clock on the dot,” according to Blowing Rock Trout Derby Chair Kim Rogers.
Hamilton was fishing in the lake at Broyhill Park, where small fries and people with disabilities can fish without a license. Broyhill Lake was stocked with hundreds of fish days before the derby and includes a three-catch limit. Other fishing areas in the derby included Price Lake, Bass Lake, Trout Lake and the Middle Fork River along U.S. 321.
The winners are listed below:
- Men: Norman Locke: 19 7/8 inch brown trout out of Price Lake
- Women: Janie Dancey: 18 ½ inch brown trout out of Price Lake
- Boys (ages 12 to 14): Brandon Coffey – 16 ¾ inch rainbow trout
- Girls (ages 12 to 14): Lisandra Mejia – 16 ¾ inch brown trout out of the Middle Fork River.
- Small Fries (ages 11 and under): Dustin Hicks – 16 7/8 inch brook trout out of Price Lake
Rogers said the weather was great in the afternoon and that participation was up this year, especially in the younger kids category. (She did mention that she would like to see more participation in the boys category.)
“We look forward to this one-day event. It happens once a year and everyone is in a good mood,” Rogers said on Monday.
Rogers’ father started this event with other merchants more than three decades ago to encourage people to come downtown. While Blowing Rock Trout Derby continues that initial mission, it is about more than just bringing people into Blowing Rock – as Rogers explains below.
She said that a couple with two kids walked up to where people were fishing and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ – at about 4 p.m., just 30 minutes before the derby was to end. Once they learned that the Blowing Rock Trout Derby was taking place, the family mentioned that they wished they would have brought along their fishing rods. Rogers said that some of the older kids at the derby chased down some extra poles and shared them with the family, so they could enjoy a day in Blowing Rock, a day in nature with family and friends.
“That’s what it’s about,” Rogers said.
See more of Lonnie Webster’s photos of the event below and check back for complete results.