By Bree Collar, Sentinel Staff Writer
More than 100 United States military veterans gathered May 3 for the annual Veterans Appreciation Fishing Rodeo at the Chattahoochee National Forest Rock Creek Fish Hatchery.
Nestled deep in the woods, the Hatchery is surrounded by 749,444 acres of nature. Producing around 1 million rainbow trout annually, the community oriented events take place on a 44.8 acre tract of land that follows along Mill Creek and Rock Creek which function as tributaries for the Toccoa River. Project Leader Kelly Taylor said, “The event went really well. Everyone caught fish and had a good time.”
Three-thousand trout flooded the waters as Rock Creek Hatchery for the Saturday morning rodeo. Taylor said all Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations applied so each participant could catch up to eight fish. Rodeo guests were able to fish from 9 a.m. until noon.
Military veterans from the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard (all branches of service) were invited to attend the event. Taylor said three World War II Veterans participated in the annual event.
The Friends of the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery provided lunch that was served by Trout Unlimited Chapters in Blairsville and Blue Ridge and door prizes were also given away.
“We always have a good time with our veterans and the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery has and always will appreciate the service these vets provided to this great country,” Taylor said.
Those participating in the fishing event brought in a variety of styles and selection of fishing gear as well as their own bait.
Future rodeo events scheduled include a Senior Fishing Rodeo Friday, June 7 starting at 9 a.m. for ages 55 and older and a Kids Fishing Rodeo Saturday, June 8 for youth 16 and younger. All rodeos occur rain or shine.
The Hatchery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to the public. It is closed to visitors on federal holidays.
For more information, call the Hatchery at 706-838-4723, visit online at www.fws.gov/chattachoochee-forest www.fws.gov/southeast/chattahoochee-forest/ or visit the Hatchery at 4730 Rock Creek Road in Suches, Ga.