With the help of Tennessee Tech's Student Fisheries Association, young fishermen are able to catch catfish stocked in the lake at Cane Creek Park by the Tennessee Lifelife Resources Agency as part of the Annual Kids Fishing Derby.
Fishing Derby offers special opportunity for young fishermen
COOKEVILLE – Standing on the shoreline, waiting for that red and white bobber to go under, signaling a fish on your line, can be tough for a child who can’t stop wiggling with excitement at the thought of reeling in a big fish.
“When I was about 10, I went to a kid’s fishing derby and won a prize for catching the biggest fish, a channel catfish,” recalls Josey Ridgway, vice president of the Tennessee Tech Student Fisheries Association and co-chair of the 2015 Kid’s Fishing Derby at Cane Creek Park. “It was a pretty big day for me.”
Now, Ridgway is looking forward to the opportunity to share a love of fishing with the Cookeville community and watch some youngsters reel in their catch, which could be a trout, bass, bluegill, crappie, carp or catfish from the lake at Cane Creek Park.
On Saturday, June 6, the Tennessee Tech Student Fisheries Association and Cookeville Leisure Services will present the 27th annual Kid’s Fishing Derby in the park, with some special provisions to increase the chances that youth can reel in a big catfish, from 7:30 a.m. to noon.
“This event is about outreach, bringing recreational fishing opportunities to the community,” Ridgway said. “We are trying to reach out and show kids that fishing is fun and there are reasons why we should be preserving fish and waterways.”
That morning, registration will be held at the Lakeview picnic shelter in the park from 7:30-8:30 a.m., fishing from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and prizes and lunch from 10:30 to noon.
In the days before the event, block nets will be placed along a cove in the lake and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will place 500 pounds of catfish within that netted area.
That way, kids can fish that area of the lake with greater likelihood of catching fish, but kids are welcome to fish areas outside the cove as well.
“Catfish are typically resilient to being moved, so we can put them in the lake and they won’t be too stressed from being moved to be fishable,” Ridgway said. “They are good-sized fish for the kids to catch.”
The fish that are caught during the derby can either be kept by fishermen, or released back into the lake. However, TWRA fishing regulations, like size limitations on other fish in the lake, do apply. Striped bass, for example, may only be kept if they are at least 15 inches in length.
Fish that are not caught or that are released back into the lake are incorporated into the lake habitat in the park, serving the niche of bottom feeding fish within the lake. They also provide future angling opportunities for park visitors, Ridgway said.
The event is done each year on the state’s “Free Fishing Day,” which allows anyone to fish public waters in the state without purchasing a license.
The Kid’s Fishing Derby at Cane Creek Park is for youth 15 and under and a prize for the biggest fish will be awarded in three categories: ages 5 and under, ages 6-10 and ages 11-15. All participants will receive a goody bag and be eligible for prize giveaways.
Participants should bring their own fishing pole and tackle. For more information, call 931-520-4386.