Fish-Fest Was a Success

Tue, June 23, 2015 | Lakes and Parks

Saturday, June 13th, was the day for another first in Bella Vista – a kids fishing derby at a Bella Vista Lake that was open to non-members. Fish-Fest was held as part of a series of events celebrating 50 years of Bella Vista Village POA and this event specifically celebrated 50 years of fishing. The event also promoted the future of the village by exposing non-members to Lake Avalon as an example of our nice lakes and parks. It was also Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) designated "free-fishing" weekend so a state fishing license was not required. The derby was an AGFC sponsored derby and we cannot thank AGFC enough for all the help and cooperation.The day before the derby, local AGFC Fisheries Management Biologist Kevin Hopkins brought a huge block-off net and helped us set it with his boat.The net was stretched all the way across the end of the cove at Lake Avalon Park. Then the Charlie Craig Centerton State Fish Hatchery stocked 300 "catchable" channel catfish within the netted-off area.The next morning during Fish-Fest, 148 kids registered in the derby and many of them caught fish. The Bella Vista Fly-Tyers were there in force with about 20 volunteers helping people fish and providing demonstrations on various aspects of fishing. The Christian Anglers Association, one of our current three bass clubs that hold tournaments on our lakes, helped us in a demonstration tent where they demonstrated how to fillet and cook freshly caught fish.The BV Fly-Tyers also gave away some nice rod and reel combos to kids catching the largest fish for each species and they gave a trophy to the kid that caught the largest fish overalla channel catfish weighing a little over 11/2 pounds. Backyard burgers sold grilled burgers, a DJ played, and in the afternoon, two great local roots music bands played. Unfortunately, the rains that held off all morning during the fishing derby, came in that afternoon and closed the stage and sound equipment. To their credit, both bands wanted to play even though only a small crowd remained. The two bands being all acoustic, moved over under the pavilion and the show went on. The small crowd was treated to a very personal setting while enjoying Big Still River from Little Rock, and the Buffalo City Ramblers from Yellville/Little Rock. AGFC also had one their mobile aquariums there for the entire event giving people the ability to see live fish swimming around right by the pavilion.We greatly appreciate everyone that volunteered and participated at Fish-Fest. It was truly a one-of-kind event in Bella Vista Village.