Yough Area Fishermans Association to hold contest
During the spring and summer months along the Youghiogheny River, anglers can be seen lining the shore in anticipation of catching that big lunker.
And beginning on Saturday, April 6, the Yough Area Fishermans Association will hold a fishing contest in which anglers can fish for tagged trout, which will be worth valuable prizes.
"This year, we've had a lot of requests from fishermen wanting us to hold a tagged fishing contest," said Roger Yuhazie, vice president of the Yough Area Fishermans Association. "We're having this contest for two reasons. We want to please the fishermen and we want to increase membership in the club."
Currently, the number of members in the club stands at approximately 200, which is a fairly solid total. Yuhazie attributes part of that number to the upcoming contest. In order for an angler to claim a prize on a tagged fish, he or she must be a member of the Yough Area Fishermans Association.
Most of the prizes are monetary. A total of 60 fish will be stocked, with a combined value of close to $2,000. Plus, several fish will have gift certificates to local restaurants and other local businesses. The tagged fish will be stocked on April 6, beginning at 9:30. The club will stock from the Yough River Park to St. Rita's church. The tagged stockings will continue every other weekend through May 4. The contest will continue for several weeks after the final stocking.
"This will be a big benefit to us," Yuhazie said. "We're already seeing the results because of the increased membership."
"To my knowledge, Connellsville hasn't had a contest like this," said Dave Johnson, president of the Yough Area Fishermans Association. "Hopefully it will promote fishing in the area and generate some interest in town. And hopefully it will benefit the club so we can buy feed for the fish and keep the nursery running."
Most of the tagged fish will be worth $25. A few will be worth $50. And at the first stocking, one fish will be tagged for $100. If the fish isn't caught during the first weekend, its value will roll back to $50. However, on the next stocking, a fish will be dropped in with a $200 tag. If that fish eludes fishermen during the weekend it is stocked, it will also roll back to $50. Then on the third stocking, a $400 fish will be placed in the river.
The prizes on the highest tagged fish will double only if the previous highest tagged fish isn't caught on the weekend it is stocked.
The tagged fish are mostly rainbows. The fish are averaging between 12-14 inches and weigh close to one pound. There will be several lunkers that will measure close to 20 inches and weigh nearly five pounds.
The club, which was established in 1972, has two nurseries which hold a combination of 22,000 trout. The organization has been operating with two nurseries for six years.
Yuhazie confirmed that all 22,000 fish will be released in area waters throughout the season. The breakdown of the fish are 15,500 rainbow, 4,000 brook and 2,500 brown. There are various golden trout which will be stocked as well.
The club will be working closely throughout the year with other local sportsmen organizations. The South Connellsville Rod and Gun Club, the Dunbar Sportsmen Club and the Bridgeport Sportsmen's Club are among those that assist in various stockings throughout the spring and summer, including this weekend's contest.
Memberships for the Yough Area Fishermans Association are available at Mug N' Brush, Binky's Barber Shop and Brothers Sporting Goods. Club memberships can also be obtained by contacting club members. A membership cost $10 for adults and $3 for juniors ages 15 and younger.
If you are a member of the club and are fortunate enough to land one of the tagged fish, information for claiming prizes will be available at the river. You may also get in touch with Johnson at 724-547-6450 or Yuhazie at 724-628-0204.
Jason Black is the sports edtior for the Daily Courier