RIDGWAY — Fishing enthusiasts have a few weeks left to enjoy a community tradition and claim their prize as part of the Elk County Trout-A-Thon.
Ridgway Main Street Manager Beth Shuttleworth said as of the end of April, around 40 tags out of more than 230 had been brought into the Ridgway-Elk Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center on Main Street. The tags are exchanged for prizes.
The result this year seems “pretty steady” in comparison with last year’s, Shuttleworth adds, but more people seem to be fishing in Powers Run in Elk County.
Ridgway-Elk County Tourism Enhancement Committee member Gennaro Aiello said during the last week of April, they were tagging 150 more fish at the Domtar Fish and Game Club, which would be put into east and west branches of the Clarion River, Ridgway Reservoir, Elk Creek and Big Mill Creek.
“We’re early into it,” he says of the Trout-A-Thon. “Some people have caught fish, but haven’t brought in the tags yet. Until the end of May, we’ll put fish into different streams.”
The fast-moving fish also end up in different locations. As an example, fish put into Johnsonburg streams have ended up in Ridgway, Aiello says.
“The amount we put in each week varies, depending on how many tags are being turned in,” Aiello said. “About half (of the fish) we put in are caught.”
Prizes include gift certificates from area merchants, cash prizes, mugs, fishing vests, golf umbrellas and other goodies, he adds, and prizes are still being donated.
The Trout-A-Thon also benefits participating merchants, Aiello says, since someone may receive a $25 gift card to their business and try it out.
“Our goal is to promote tourism and support the quality of life for residents here, and promote the sport of fishing,” he said.
Although the event lasts until May 31, prizes will still be awarded after that on a first-come, first-served basis. Blue tags from last year’s Trout-A-Thon are offered this year as well, Aiello said.
The event is not just a communtiy tradition, but one that brings people together to enjoy an outdoor activity, Aiello says. Last year, he recalls a 90-year-old woman who participated, sending a “thank you” letter to organizers for creating the program.
For more information, call the Ridgway-Elk Chamber at 814-776-1424 or visit the Trout-A-Thon on Facebook.