Youngsters aged 15 and younger came out for great trout fishing along the scenic Mayo River during the 3rd annual Patrick County Kids’ Trout Fishing Day, held at the Mayo River Rail Trail Picnic Area on Commerce Street in Stuart.
Adults were not permitted to fish until after 1 p.m. and were required to have a valid Virginia Fishing License and Trout Stamp.
Event organizers, Sandra Heath, Wayne Kirkpatrick and Dale Owens were happy to see a break in the rain for the event. The children, adults and volunteers braved the cold temperatures and overcast skies to end up having a great time catching trout while enjoying the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
This event is always held rain or shine due to the logistics of the stocking schedules, and this year’s event registered 60 kids with their parents/guardians, for a total of about 120 participants. The Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) stocked the river with 500 pounds of trout – Rainbows, Browns and Brooks. An array of door prizes, trophies, cash prizes also awaited the kids as the event wound down at noon.
A special presentation was made by Rocky Mabe and Michael Mabe in memory and honor of their friend David Hayes who was an avid outdoorsman.
Many thanks hosting the event to Heath, the PC Soil and Water Conservation District; Wayne and Betty Kirkpatrick, the Dan River Basin Association; Jeff Deering and Al Kittredge, the Smith River Trout Unlimited (SRTU) Chapter; Sammy Hughes, Junior Hughes, Angela Spence and members of the Falling Creek Hunting Club; Rocky Mabe and Michael Mabe; PCHS Fishing Team; Helms Septic Service;, County of Patrick/Patrick County Tourism; Town of Stuart; the PC Maintenance Department and Conservation Police Officer Dale Owens and the DWR. These partners come together to create Kids’ Trout Fishing Day as what will continue as an annual event.
The DWR has designated the second Saturday of April each year as the Patrick County Kids’ Fishing Day along the Mayo River Trail. Heath had a vision to give an opportunity for children as well as adults great access to fishing on the Mayo River and for kids & families to get out and enjoy nature.
On February 28, 2017, she met with George Palmer, a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to discuss extending trout stocking on the South Mayo River. The two then worked with the VDGIF; Owens, then Patrick County Administrator Tom Rose, and the Patrick County Board of Supervisors to craft a public fishing agreement, which was agreed to and voted on March 13, 2017.
One goal was the annual Kids Trout Fishing Day and providing a great trout fishing location from the parking lot area downstream to the Bull Mountain Forest Fire Lookout Tower kiosk Eagle Scout project and bench areas for the public.
Through teamwork, Heath, the Patrick SWCD, Owens and Wayne Kirkpatrick and many partnering organizations worked to make the inaugural Kids Trout Fishing Day a reality on April 20, 2019. The COVID pandemic interrupted plans for two years, but now the day is returning to the second Saturday of April.
Check out the Patrick County Kids’ Trout Fishing Day Facebook page for more information and pictures of the event.