If the weather forecast for Saturday is to be believed, it will be a perfect day for fishing at Inman Liberty Park.
The 12th annual Warren Township fishing derby will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the pond, which is stocked and maintained by township trustees, and anglers of all ages are invited to cast a line. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s with only a slight risk of severe weather in the afternoon.
Warren Township resident Garrett Hoskinson, 30, has taken his three children, ages 2, 6 and 8, to the derby in the past and plans to return this weekend.
“The kids love it … well my middle one doesn’t so much,” he laughed. “But I think it’s great for the kids. They have caught a few and it teaches them about fishing.”
Inman Liberty Park, named for Rufus Inman, a Revolutionary War soldier, was established in 1999 to provide recreational activities for community residents.
Hoskinson said the trustees have done a great job with the park and he and his family get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
“We take the kids over to play in the park in the summer,” he said. “(The trustees) do a great job of keeping it clean.”
The pond is stocked with catfish bought from Marlow’s Fisheries in Little Hocking, according to trustee Jeff Knowlton, and each participant is allowed to take home two catfish.
“Last year we had over 100 people come out and this event is for anybody who wants to come out to the park,” he said.
There is no cost to participate but donations are accepted to help with upkeep of the park.
This is the second year that the trustees were given a Step Outside grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, according to Warren Township fiscal officer Amy McKenzie.
“It is for $500 and it usually costs us $1,000 to stock the pond, so it helps with about half,” she said.
The grant was acquired with assistance from the Ohio State University Extension Office in Washington County. A Step Outside grant is awarded to local government agencies, nonprofit organizations and other family and youth-oriented facilities to promote outdoor skills such as fishing, hunting, trapping, archery and shooting sports. The grants are designed to provide funding for activities that are otherwise unaffordable for the sponsoring agency or organization.
“I do grant writing and look for programs that fit the needs of townships and communities,” said Darlene Lukshin, a community development program specialist with the OSU extension office. “We put together a grant package last year and this event fit the requirements so we tried again this year and were able to get it.”
Applying for the grant began in January in anticipation of the fishing derby and Lukshin said this event is especially worthy because not only are the trustees involved but others in the community as well.
“The fire department, the Boy Scouts … this is very well-attended and well-received by the community,” she said.
The annual fishing derby is open to all ages and there will be prizes awarded for the biggest catch in each age category. Anglers are asked to bring their own equipment and only two catfish per person may be kept. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult and those 16 and older must have a valid Ohio fishing license. Also, anyone who is a novice and would like a lesson is in luck.
“We will teach them how to cast, how to bait the hook … we’ll take care of them,” said Knowlton.