By Beth Cox
The fish were biting, and the kids were ready to catch them last Saturday morning at Ralph Stout Park. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) designated Saturday, June 8 as a free fishing day in Tennessee to help draw more attention to the sport. The Town of Mountain City hosted a local Kids Fishing Day in conjunction with Tennessee’s Free Fishing Day, only permitting children under sixteen to fish from 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m.
TWRA provided the funding for the fish, fishing supplies, and personnel for this recreational sport, with TNT Outdoors as the local sponsor and many other businesses in the community who contributed fishing poles and other fishing supplies to any child that didn’t have the essentials for the free fishing event.Johnson County Public Health Educator and Go JOCO representative Angie Stout boasted that within 30 minutes, there were more than 75 fishing poles handed out to the children who didn’t have their own fishing pole.
“It is such a nice gesture by TWRA and local sponsors to make sure the kids have what they needed to start fishing,” Stout said.
Stout enjoys attending the free fishing day because it is a great venue for her to share important health information and hand out some goodies for the kids. Nearly $2,100 worth of fishing poles, fishing supplies and monetary donations were given by local businesses such as Doe Valley Sportsman, Taylor Animal Clinic, Danny Herman, Danny Herman Trucking, Farmers State Bank, Johnson County Bank, Pure Fishing, Mountain View Exxon, and the Bass Club of Mountain City and Watson’s Marine toward the event.
The Town of Mountain City has worked hard to make sure everything was just right for the big day, while JCHS teacher, Mr. Thomas Boyd and some of his high school students made sure the creek was prepared for the fish. TWRA stocked the pond at the city park with 700 lbs. of catfish, and the creek was stocked with 600 individual trout for this special day. Crowd attendance may have been down a little due to rain, but it was a good day for fishing. Stout emphasized the importance of the free fishing day, adding, “It’s a great day to get out and do something together as a family; it’s so nice to see the excitement on a child’s face when he or she catches the first fish.”