Next Friday the members of the Ashley Trout Stocking Association will renew a tradition at Solomon’s Creek. That’s when they’ll stock a stretch of the creek with 2,000 trout, yet they won’t try to catch a single one when the season opens the next day.
That job will be left up to the kids who will line the banks of Solomon’s Creek participating in the youth fishing derby that has been held at the site for 31 years.
John McGovern, association treasurer, expects up to 150 kids to come out on Saturday. There’s no registration or cost. The only requirement is that they be 15 years old or younger and have a good time.
“We really do feel like we’re carrying on a tradition with this,” McGovern said. “Every year someone comes up to us who fished the derby themselves as a kid and is now bringing their own children here to fish.”
For McGovern and the rest of the association, such occurrences are proof that the derby is meeting its goal that was set 31 years ago - to get children hooked on fishing.
“I really believe it does that. It’s a jump-start for them,” he said. “It’s a good atmosphere to get kids involved with fishing.”
In addition to the 2,000 fish that will be stocked, the association puts in long hours cleaning up the stream and making sure the banks are safe for children to fish. The derby is held on the stream located at the end of Cook Street in Ashley Borough, and it was only five years ago that flooding ravaging the shoreline, making it unsafe for fishing thus bringing the derby to a halt.
“We had to cancel it in 2008 and the following year we could only stock a small section,” McGovern said. “But now it’s back up and running.”
When the derby began more than 30 years ago, other sportsmen’s groups in the area had been holding it periodically. When the association took it over, they stocked the stream with 400 fish and watched the event grow ever since.
“We’ve gotten more kids so we’re stocking more fish,” McGovern said. “We get so much help from area businesses and organizations to do this, and it’s all for the common goal of giving kids an opportunity to fish and have a good time doing it.”