With the sun shining down, the sound of the Indian Kill waterfall in his ears and his Panther Martin lure glittering under the surface of the water, Scotia resident Nate Correll ended eight years of frustration by catching an 111⁄8 inch trout Saturday.
Correll, 14, has been coming to the annual Indian Kill Fishing Day & Open House since he was 6. His first trip to the event he caught five fish, but none of them were winners in his age range. In the years since he caught fewer fish and never the biggest for his age — until Saturday. He said his fishing experience helped him catch a winner.
“You have to go to the pools of the stream, not the shallow spots, to catch trout,” he said.
Saturday was the 19th annual event at the Indian Kill Nature Preserve, located on Hetcheltown Road. This year’s edition drew 105 participants for the tournament.
“It’s for young fishing enthusiasts who are under 15, because then they don’t have to buy a fishing license,” said event organizer Mark Storti.
Storti works for Schenectady County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning, which sponsors the event along with about 24 local businesses. Storti said last week the event organizers stocked one mile of the stream with 500 rainbow trout at a cost of about $1,800. The kids caught about 35 of them.
The largest trout caught at the event was 143⁄4 inches long. It was caught by Alexandra Wolfe, 11, also of Scotia.
Storti said the length of Wolfe’s fish made it likely it was a survivor of last year’s tournament.
“Plus the color of the fish, when we cleaned it out you could tell the flesh was pink from eating the crustaceans in the creek,” he said.
Wolfe said she’s been fishing since she was about 4. She caught the fish with a garden worm from her backyard.
“I cast my pole and my dad sat by me and he was talking to me. I felt it and then I had to pull on it really hard and then my dad netted it. It was flopping and everything,” she said. “I like fishing because when you go you can spend time with your family and it’s actually really fun.”
This year the grand marshal for the event was Joe Martens, commissioner of the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation. He told the participants that it was important for adults to show young people how to be good stewards for the environment so families can continue to enjoy events like the Indian Kill Fishing Day.