There is nothing quite like the ear to ear grin of a kid with a fish tugging on the end of his fishing line. Smiles were everywhere, Saturday, April 20th for the 1st Annual Patrick County Kid’s Trout Fishing Day, where squeals of delight could be heard up and down the stream as many experienced the thrill of landing a fish. Youth under 16 years old and accompanied by an adult, were invited to fish the Mayo River along the lower portion of the Mayo River Rail Trail.
Sixty-one youth registered for the event and multiple family members came out to cheer on their children and grandchildren. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) stocked Rainbow and Brown Trout, some as large as five pounds, all along the stream section.
Logan Mabe was the winner in the “Longest Fish” category for boys. The fish measured 16.25 inches in length. Logan won a L.L. Bean fly rod donated and sponsored by Smith River Trout Unlimited. He was also presented a trophy donated by Rocky Mabe. Amilya Lawson was the winner in the “Longest Fish” category for girls. The fish measured 15 inches in length and she also was presented a trophy. Amilya Lawson also won for “shortest trout” category, fish measured 3.25″ and she won a box of trout flies donated and sponsored by Smith River Trout Unlimited.
Door prizes, donated by local organizations and individuals included a fishing kit won by Kylei Blevins; gift cards to Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop won by Milayna Helms and Lillie Cobbler, respectively; a fishing themed teddy bear was won by Olivia Tucker and Tyler Handy won a Patrick County guided trout fishing trip with Rocky Mabe. Prizes were also awarded by Michael Mabe and Rocky Mabe who hosted a casting contest. Casting contest for Kids Trout Day Winners are as follows: Age Group Up to 6 years old, 1st place Milayna Helms 2nd place Robin Wingfield Age Group 7 – 11 years old, 1st place Cody Boyer 2nd place Isaac Trent 3rd place Issac Boyer Age Group 12 – 15 years old 1st place: Logan Mabe 2nd place: Levi Spangler 3rd place: Logan Haggan Drawing Give Away: 1st place: Issac Boyer 2nd place: Robin Wingfield 3rd Place: Logan Mabe.
The success of the event is shared by many volunteers and organizations – Patrick County Maintenance mowed and pruned the stream bank to help with access; VDGIF Conservation Police Officer, Dale Owens, coordinated the trout stocking; Sandra Heath worked tirelessly recruiting volunteers and Patrick Springs Boy Scout Troop 69 provided a lunch and refreshments as a fundraiser. Support Also came from the Falling Creek Hunting Club, the Dan River Basin Association, Smith River Trout Unlimited, Patrick County Soil and Water Conservation District, Helms Septic Service, Wayne and Betty Kirkpatrick, Rocky Mabe, Michael Mabe, Patrick County Fire & Rescue, Town of Stuart and Patrick County Tourism provided handouts/giveaways.
Sandra W. Heath, Patrick County SWCD Manager, had a vision to give an opportunity for children and their families’ access to great fishing near the Mayo River Rail Trail picnic area. On February 28, 2017, Mrs. Heath met with George Palmer, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Biologist at the Mayo River Rail Trail picnic area to discuss extending trout stocking on the South Mayo River. After working with Dale Owens, VDGIF Conservation Police Officer and Tom Rose, Patrick County Administrator and the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, a public fishing agreement was voted on March 13, 2017.
Through teamwork, Sandra W. Heath, Patrick SWCD; Dale Owens, VDGIF Conservation Police Officer and Wayne Kirkpatrick, Dan River Basin Association, coordinated and helped make the 1st Annual Kids Trout Fishing Day a reality on April 20, 2019 along with many partnering individuals and organizations. The goal was to have an Annual Kids Trout Fishing Day, and to provide a great trout fishing location from the parking lot area downstream to the bench end for the public. For more details and pictures, go to the following Facebook page: Patrick County Kids’ Trout Fishing Day.
Everyone supporting the event and associated with it are gratefully thanked for your efforts. Encouraging our youth to be outdoors and recreating in a fun, safe manner helps instill an appreciation for natural resources that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Sandra W. Heath