Anglers make trek to Pine Grove for year-long contest

PINE GROVE — Usually, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is — unless that something is the bigger, better-than-ever Family Fun Fishing Event.

This year’s seventh annual fishing event kickoff is on Sunday, April 22, with activities scheduled from 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park. During those hours participants may redeem their breakfast or lunch vouchers at the clubhouse, where volunteers from the Schuylkill County Sportsmen’s Association will do the cooking, and participate in other opening-day activities of the year-long event.

Anglers can take a break from fishing by enjoying the free 18-hole disk golf course and hiking trails and young worm-drowners will find plenty to keep them busy on the playground. Also, a Chinese auction will be conducted in the club house until 2 p.m.

Sweet Arrow Lake is open for fishing by all anglers on the event’s opening day, but in order to be eligible to redeem a tag from any of the 50 specially tagged fish — worth a total of $7,000 in cash and prizes, and including the $1,000 fish — anglers must register. Registration closes April 22, but anglers can save money on registration fees by registering by — no foolin’ — Sunday, April 1.

Registration fees until April Fool’s Day are $15 for individuals and includes a $5 food voucher that can be redeemed for breakfast or lunch and $30 for families and includes a $10 food voucher. From April 1 until the day of the event registration fees will increase by $10 for individuals and $15 for families and include the food vouchers.

“Kids between the ages of 3-12 get a free prize, and in recent years they have had their choice of Fleer Sports collectable memorabilia, spin fishing rod-and-reel combinations, fishing lures and gift cards,” event organizer Craig Morgan of the Schuylkill County Sportsmen’s Advisory Board said.

“This year the total prize pool has been increased to $7,000, an increase of $2,000 from last year. In addition to the $1,000 fish there is a $750 fish, a $500 fish, a $250 fish and 45 fish tagged with prizes valued at $100.

“Any prizes not claimed from last year will be awarded by a drawing in the club house for anglers who registered for the 2017 event. Last year there were more than 1,300 entries and the majority consisted of families.”

Morgan said initially the event was seen as a local event for anglers in Carbon, Dauphin, Northumberland and Schuylkill counties. It has since grown into a regional event with anglers coming from more than 100 miles away, many of whom vacation at area campgrounds in the summer to participate in the event.

“This year 200 lunker trout, instead of the previous 100 lunkers, will be stocked through the Friends of Schuylkill Parks and Recreation, Pine Grove Fish and Game and Northern Swatara Cooperative Trout Nursery,” Morgan said. “A total of $10,000 worth of trout will be privately stocked for the event in addition to those stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

“Opening day check-in and registration begins at 6 a.m. at the clubhouse area and the PFBC access area and is coordinated by Schuylkill County Chapter of Trout Unlimited. All tagged fish and lunkers will be stocked beginning at 8 a.m. and most of them and tagged fish will be float stocked to all areas of the lake.”

Family Fun Fishing Event registration forms are available on the Sweet Arrow Lake County Park website at www.sweetarrowlakepark.com. For more information contact Morgan at (570) 617-8223 or crmorgan1@hughes.net.

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