As I pulled up to Douthat State Park on Saturday morning, April 4, 2009, I could already see the trucks lined up in the parking lot for opening day of fee fishing.
I stepped out of my car and walked down the trail to try and get a couple of photographs of these fishermen. The first place I went to there were probably 10 to 15 people lining the bank of Wilson’s Creek. They were bunched so close together I didn’t know how their lines weren’t getting crossed in the water.
There was a swinging bridge which crossed the creek so I slowly and carefully made my way across so I could get a good shot of them all on the bank. I halfway got sea sick walking on the bridge and bouncing back and forth. The last thing I needed was to end up in the water with about 15 fishermen watching. That would have been a sight.
After I took my pictures I went further down the road and made my way to below White Oak Campground at Douthat State Park. Again, same story, there were over 10 fishermen fishing in one little spot in the creek. I was amused and I’m sure the fishermen were amused watching me take pictures of them. I did happen to watch some of them real one in.
I spoke to one man as I was leaving and he was pulling a fish out of his net he had just caught. Terry Campbell was his name from Churchville, Va. and by 9:30 a.m. he had already caughtfive fish. I thought that was pretty impressive considering fee fishing didn’t start until 9 a.m. He was stopping for now to take his granddaughters fishing.
I then got back in my car and drove even further down into Douthat State Park. I got to the Children’s Fishing Area were you couldn’t find a parking spot it was so crowded. I was so impressed with how many people showed up on opening day for fee fishing at Douthat State Park.
I ran into little Jacob Hartsel who was six-years-old. He was showing off his two fish he caught. His twin brother was there along withhis parents and grandfather. It was a family event.
Four-year-old Hunter Barron was down towards the spillway and he had just caught another one to add to his collection. He now had three to show for his morning, but I was told he had caught four, but one got away. That’s fishing for you.
The biggest fish I saw for the day was 23 inches long and weighed just over eight pounds. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a fish that size in person. Keith Wilhelm was the fishermen who got to claim his catch. Keith is a volunteer at Douthat State Park and brought his fish down to the office for me to get a picture of him. What a fish! Keith did stop to tell me he used power bait toget this awesome trout on the end of his line.
What’s the biggest fish you have ever caught and what did you use to catchit with?
For general park information go to www.virginiastateparks.gov, contact the park office at 540-862-8100 or e-mail DouthatStateParkat [email protected]. Douthat is located at 14239 Douthat State Park Road, Millboro, VA24460.