By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
Friday at Nolan Creek marked the annual Fishin’ and Fun Friday Trout Drop, where the Texas Parks and Wildlife released nearly 1,000 rainbow trout into the waters.
Families gathered around the newly constructed banks of Nolan Creek to cast off, reel in and try their luck at snagging a fish to take home.
Shawn Butler and Collin McAfee, both ninth graders from Belton High School, said they came to the trout drop last year but didn’t manage to catch any fish until Saturday. This year however, within only about 45 minutes, they had already caught eight fish combined.
Matt Bates, the Director of Recreation and Events, said that “people have a great time” at the trout drop and they’ve “already done really well” catching fish at the event this year so far.
Every year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife has an initiative to encourage the community and help them gain an interest in being involved with the sport of fishing. During the two hours that the trout drop event takes place, they have waived the need to have a fishing license to help further their efforts.
“There are always a lot of first-time fisherman” that come out to the event to try their hand at the sport, Bates said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife tries to hold this event annually on the Friday before Christmas to give the whole family something fun to kick off the Christmas break. Most children have early release from school that day, so the parents take off work.
This is the perfect way to “take an afternoon off with the kids,” Bates said.
With all the publicity and hype around the Nolan Creek Project, it will help add to the “awareness factor” of the recreational activities at Nolan Creek both in and out of the water, Bates explained.
Each year they try to incorporate something different at the event to keep interests up. This year, participants were provided worms and corn for bait as well as a cup of hot chocolate to help ward off the chilly weather.
If you managed to catch a fish that you felt was a fairly good size, the fish could be measured and entered into the longest fish contest.
In the Boys 12 and under division, the first place winner was Brock Sebasta, catching a fish measuring 10 inches. Second place was Jacob Heith, catching a 9 ½ inch fish. The first place winner in the girls 12 and under division was Sabryn Booth, catching a fish measuring 9 1/5 inches.
With the Nolan Creek project well under way, and all the added recreational outlets it will bring to Belton, the trout drop is expected to bring a crowd during next year’s event.