On October 10th, 500 rainbow trout found their way to public waters in the heart of Kentucky thanks to conservation efforts of over forty volunteers!
For the 5th year in a row, the Kentucky BHA Chapter and our members have collaborated with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation, United States Forest Service, and dedicated volunteers to enhance the opportunities on public lands by stocking rainbow trout in the Chimney Top Creek of Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest! This occasion is a highly anticipated day and never fails to create a story that adds to the narrative of the Kentucky BHA Chapter. After mustering at a pre-determined location, excited volunteers caravanned to the trail head where they met dedicated staff from the KDFWR and their affiliated foundation. This was an excellent opportunity for folks to meet, share stories, network, and engage while waiting on the official Kentucky trout taxi.
Joining us at the event, was our 2023 BHA Public Trust Scholarship recipient Indira Neufville from the University of Louisville. Indira is the 4th recipient of this BHA Public Trust Scholarship and was extremely enthusiastic about this adventure!
As the soon to be free trout arrived, one could witness the beaming smiles and anticipation as folks fell in line waiting on their packs to be weighed down with water and opportunities. After a well-orchestrated process, participants were loaded and ready to begin the hike down to Chimney Top Creek. This small yet alluring tributary of the Red River, located in the heart of the iconic Red River Gorge area of Kentucky, provides a wonderful backcountry experience for those willing to negotiate the terrain. The moderately steep trails of this area are engulfed with rhododendrons, surrounded by some of the most marvelous rock formations found east of the Mississippi, and can lead to several unique fishing opportunities.
Splitting into two groups with one group narrowly dodging a copperhead, the trout were widely distributed into various pools and pockets of the free flowing clear and cool waterway. As each individual took their turn to release the packed stock, one could nearly feel the rush of various emotions synchronized in time with the release of a dozen small delicate creatures into their unknown fate. It’s a small yet powerful experience that enables one to further develop their connection with nature and conservation.
As the two groups congregated back where their trails split, participants began the trek up the steep incline to the parking area to ironically find two nice people, oblivious to our event, rigging up their 3wt fly-rods to spend an afternoon in the Kentucky wilds, solidifying our "why"!
This type of collaboration and impact is the essence behind what we do through Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Folks from diverse backgrounds gathering together and enhancing the experience of public lands knowing that they themselves may never return to reap the reward of their effort. But it doesn’t matter to them, as OUR people walk away knowing they have made a lasting impact on our shared lands!