A day of fishing and fun drew crowds to Westwood Park on Saturday.
Though the event catered to children, those of all ages were invited to attend the Andy and Opie Take Me Fishing Day that ran from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s a way to break away from the stresses of life,” said one member of the Women’s League of Mount Airy, which sponsors the event.
Prizes were offered to those who caught fish, and there were plenty of fish to be caught. Members of the Mount Airy Police Department served hot dogs at the free event.
According to Kin Hodges from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, his organization stocked Tumbling Rock Reservoir with channel catfish Friday evening. The extra stock is in addition to the 900 fish which are released into the reservoir each month.
“That’s what your fishing license pays for,” said Hodges. “That money goes directly back into improving the quality of fishing in our state.”
Hodges said in many bodies of water like the reservoir at Westwood, stocking is needed to ensure there are fish to be caught.
“A pond this size could support a few people fishing it,” explained Hodges. “Too many people fish this for the natural population to support.”
Hodges was on hand at Saturday’s event, handing out fishing rods, bait and informational flyers.
“This informational sheet can help those who want to get started,” said Hodges.
The Women’s League assumed its role as sponsor and organizer of the annual fishing event five years ago, said Lisa Goodin, who organized the event.
Since then, the group has seen the event thrive.
“We average about 200 people, but every year we see more,” said the club’s president, Lisa Parrish. “Today started out with more people. They know to get here early to get the best spots.”
The club took over the event from the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Department, which organizes another fishing day as part of its Kidsfest in the spring, said Darren Lewis, assistant director of Parks and Recreation.
“They have taken it and run with it,” said Lewis. “They’ve done an outstanding job with keeping it going.”
Lewis also mentioned Westwood Park is one of the best kept secrets in Mount Airy.
“It’s really a good little fishing spot,” remarked Lewis.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.