The climate of late at the hatchery has been nothing short of a whirlwind of activities. While we always have fish production and facility projects going on year-round, this is our big outreach season, and it’s almost over.

The climate of late at the hatchery has been nothing short of a whirlwind of activities. While we always have fish production and facility projects going on year-round, this is our big outreach season, and it’s almost over.
Two weeks ago, we again hosted the crowds that came out to enjoy our annual Kids Fishing Derby – always held on the first Friday of June. Many kids registered and participated in the event where they can catch and keep up to four rainbow trout. For quite a few, this was the first time they had been fishing in their lives. We hope to “hook” them on this worthwhile pastime with events such as this. We were so thankful that the weather was superb for this time of family fun and hope they wear their participation t-shirts often! Because of our water repair issues, the derbies had to be done old-style – in the branch with dammed up pools! It was actually nice to be in the shade and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
One week later, last Friday, we hosted our Fishing Day for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities, and had 200 sign in and partake in that enjoyable affair. Our oldest angler was 101 years young – and regardless of age, it was great to see everyone casting, catching and smiling for this three-hour fishing experience. The weather was ideal and most stayed to eat the free hotdog lunch provided by our Friends group. While most that registered were from good old Missouri, eleven percent of the participants came from neighboring states.
We are also helping Urban American Outdoors with their 13th Annual Urban Kids Fishing Derby in Kansas City, MO tomorrow. In previous years, the hatchery has provided some fish for the event, as well as equipment and manpower with Friends members and staff. Because of the amazingly positive results we always get, we are going again, and hope to see another couple hundred smiling inner-city youth as they venture outside and go fishing – sometimes for the very first time.
For those that know this hatchery’s history, you know that these big outdoor events really are an expression of our thankfulness for the community’s support, and together we aim to be a blessing for everyone. Thanks for all you do, and when the time comes around again next year, we’ll be ready to serve up another round of aquatic blessing to give right back again.

Bruce Hallman writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.