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On Saturday, June 3, about 50
children and their families enjoyed a day of fishing and fun at the Bankhead
Annual Youth Fishing Derby.  The event,
now in its 28th year, is much anticipated in the local communities surrounding
Bankhead National Forest.  The Forest
Service pond was stocked with about 500 pounds of catfish for the derby.  Additional fun activities included archery,
air soft shooting, casting contests, and interactive educational booths focused
on natural resources conservation. 

According to the
Bankhead District Ranger Andy Scott, partnerships and community support in
local events is important to the success of fishing derbies around the
state.
  “Getting young people interested
in outdoor activities, like fishing and hunting, is critical to conservation.”
  The event was held in celebration of National
Fishing and Boating Week, National Trails Day and National Get Outdoors Day.
  Most every child caught a fish or two, and
every child received a t-shirt, water bottle, goodie bag, and door prize thanks
to generous donations.
  Three children
won lifetime freshwater fishing licenses thanks to the Alabama Conservation Enforcement
Officers Association.

Sponsors and
partners make the event possible.
  This
year’s hosts, sponsors and partners included the US Forest Service, the Alabama
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, the National Wild Turkey
Federation, the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer’s Association, the Winston
County Commission, the Winston County Natural Resources Council, Double Springs
Lions Club, Lawrence County Rescue Squad, Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama
Cooperative Extension System and 4H, Wild Alabama and the Department of Energy.

Winners
of this year’s casting contest were; Bridger Moore of Haleyville, Kolter Couch
of Double Springs and Brooks Kachleman of Florence.  Trophies and prizes for biggest fish were
awarded.  The biggest fish overall,
measuring at 21 ¼”, was caught by Sophia Garcia of Double Springs.  Winners in the 5-6 year old group included 2nd
place Rylee Young of Town Creek and 1st place Weston Johnston of
Jasper.  In the 7-9 year old group, Brantley
Moody took 2nd place and Ella Moody took first place, both of Double
Springs.  In the 10-12 year old group, Fisher
Steele of Danville won 2nd place and Austin Flannagin of Double
Springs took 1st place.

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