NEW CASTLE — A record-setting 100 children signed up to try their hands at catching the 200 rainbow trout stocked in the pond at Alder Park in the Castle Valley Ranch subdivision for the annual Mr. T’s Fishing Derby on Saturday afternoon.
The event, which is sponsored by Mr. T’s Hardware and was hosted by the New Castle Cub Scouts Pack #221 was free for kids 3-15. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife held several clinics to educate the kids prior to letting them cast their lines in the pond.
“Why are fish shaped the way they are?” asked District Wildlife Manager Brian Gray, to a group of 3- to 8-year-olds.
“Because they’re different kinds of fish,” one boy said knowingly.
“OK, but why are there different kinds of fish?” Gray continued.
Gray then explained that different species of fish and their different shapes were due to the kind of water they lived in. Some fish, such as trout, thrive in fast moving water, such as rivers and streams. Others, like perch, lived in lakes.
“Why is it important to know what kind of fish you are catching?” Gray asked.
“So you can tell everybody what you got,” another child said.
Gray explained that the reason was because there were limits for each species of fish on how many you can take home to eat, such as a limit of two bass or four rainbow trout per person.
“We try to protect certain types because if we take too many, they won’t be able to reproduce. You have to know what the rules are,” Gray said. “But in this pond, the fish we’ve put in here are for you to keep. You have a good chance at catching a fish today.”
The kids were divided into two groups — ages 3-8 and 9-15.
In the age 3 to 8 group, the first trout of the day was caught by Daneka Bagett and the largest trout by Logan Harlow. First place for total fish caught was awarded to Ben Peterson; second place to Ella Jackson and there was a tie for third place between Madeline Stoffel and Drako Bradley.
In the 9-15 age group, the first trout was caught by Carys Walter and the biggest fish by Samuel Miliken. Christopher Miliken won first place for the total number of fish caught; Sophia Nelson took second; and third place went to Carys Walter and honorable mentions were awarded to Samuel Miliken and Teddy Huttenhower.
Cub Scout Pack #221 Leader John Harcourt oversaw the event. Harcourt has been the Cub Scout leader for six years and has seen the scouts grow in number from three to 30, with packs now in both New Castle and Silt.