Blowing Rock Trout Derby

Trophy sponsor Snake Mountain Iron Works crafted a whopper for Blowing Rock Trout Derby’s signature fish.

BLOWING ROCK — The 2021 High Country fishing season got off to a rollicking start on Saturday, April 3, with the 41st Annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby. More than 100 participants — from children to adults — participated.

Calvin Thompson at Blowing Rock Trout Derby

Calvin Thompson is all smiles with the mess of fish he caught during Blowing Rock Trout Derby, April 3, at Broyhill Lake.

The derby offered age divisions for men and women (17 and older), girls and boys (ages 12-16), and “small fries” for those 11 and younger.

Cold temperatures kept all but the hardiest and most adventuresome away in the early morning, but the number of anglers swelled as the daytime warmed into a bright, sun-filled afternoon.

The trout in Broyhill Lake had barely worked up an appetite for breakfast when young Wesley Trantham reeled in the first fish at 7 a.m. at registered it at derby headquarters.

At day’s end, “small fry” competitor Nathan Burn was telling stories about the big one that didn’t get away. He caught a 22.5-inch Brown trout out of Broyhill Lake and it earned him not one, but two prizes: the largest Brown trout of the day, and first place in the Small Fry Division of boys and girls 11 and under. The largest Brown earned him a $100 cash prize and as winner of the Small Fry Division he won an Ugly Stik fishing rod.

Wesley Trantham -- first fish

Wesley Trantham in front of Mike Calhoun, co-chair of the event. Trantham landed the first fish for the 41st annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby, April 3.

The biggest rainbow trout was caught by Jennifer Triplett on the Middle Fork of the South Fork of the New River, weighing in at 19.5 inches; Leon Tester hauled in the largest brook trout, at 12.75 inches. Triplett and Tester won $100 each for catching the largest fish registered of the rainbow and brook species.

Measuring fish at Blowing Rock Trout Derby

Measuring fish when cash, trophies, and prizes are on the line is an important job for Blowing Rock Trout Derby.

In the Boys 12-16 Division, Dalton Mundy won an Ugly Stik rod for capturing first place with his 12.25-inch rainbow. Triplett also picked up an Ugly Stik rod for her 19.25 inch rainbow, and Kevin Reese’s 18-inch rainbow earned him an Ugly Stik rod in the Men’s Division.

Jennifer Triplett at Blowing Rock Trout Derby

Jennifer Triplett was one of the winners at the 41st annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby on April 3.

There were 15 fish tagged by North Carolina Wildlife Resources, and eight of them were caught during the Derby in Broyhill Lake. Each earned the lucky angler catching them $25.

Hardin Park School first grader Clara McAllister won the Blowing Rock Trout Derby Art Contest and the coveted right to have her artwork featured on next year’s event shirt.

Clara McAllister -- Trout Derby art contest winner from Hardin Park

First grade student at Hardin Park School, Clara McAllister won the 41st annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby art contest and the right to have her work displayed on next year’s event T-shirt.

The full list of winners:

First fish: Wesley Trantham at Broyhill Lake, 7 a.m.

Largest trout by species

  • Brook: Leon Tester at Broyhill Lake, 12.75 inches
  • Brown: Nathan Burn at Broyhill Lake, 22.5 inches
  • Rainbow: Jennifer Triplett at Middle Fork, 19.25 inches

Small Fry Division

Macie Triplett from Ohio won a prize at Blowing Rock Trout Derby

Macie Triplett won one of the last prizes in the drawing at Blowing Rock Trout Derby

  • First Place – Nathan Burn, 22.5 inches, Brown
  • Second Place – Atlas Brown, 20.5 inches, Brown
  • Third Place – Henry Humphrey, 19.5 inches, Brown

Boys Division (12-16)

  • First Place – Dalton Mundy, 12.25 inches, Rainbow
  • Second Place – Dustin Hicks, 11.75 inches, Rainbow
  • Third Place – Jackson Reese, 11.5 inches, Rainbow

Women’s Division

  • First Place – Jennifer Triplett, 19.25 inches, Rainbow
  • Second Place – Isabella Cuttilo, 14 inches, Rainbow
  • Third Place – Janie Dancy, 12.13 inches, Rainbow

Men’s Division

  • First Place – Kevin Reese, 18 inches, Rainbow
  • Second Place – Jack Triplett, 17.5 inches, Rainbow
  • Third Place – Matthew Peale, 16.5 inches, Brown

Smallest fish: Ryder Hammer, 9.63 inches, Brook

Art Contest:

  • First Place – Clara McAllister, Hardin Park School, first grade
  • Second Place – Spencer Barrow, fifth grade
  • Third Place – Kai Cardwell, Hardin Park School, first grade

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