The early bird — or fish — gets the worm, or so it seemed around 7 a.m., Saturday. That's when kids began casting the waters of Homesteader Pond and caught trout by the creel-load.
The 24th annual kids' fishing day marked the official opening of the Homesteader Park pond, said Wade Hernandez, of the Powell Recreation District. Around 140 youth were signed up, he said.
The pond recently was stocked with 650 rainbow and brown trout, he said. The limit was four fish per fledgling angler.
Sam Hobbs of Powell, demonstrated the art of casting to his two daughters, and his coaching definitely panned out as the girls hooked trout that would easily overflow the frying pan.
Hobbs' daughter, Riley French, 11, snagged two at once. The pole was bent nearly double as the rainbows tugged the line, but Riley hauled her catch in with the finesse of a pro.
“You need one more, Riley,” sister Aubrie, 5, said.
Aubrie was not contemplating the thrill of landing the big one. Rather, she was imagining the savory flavor of spaghetti with the trout on top, she said.
There were one-hour time blocks from 6 to 10 a.m. The Hobbs family was in the 7 to 8 a.m. block, but long before 8, both girls had their limit.
Cole Young, 4, of Portland Ore., was learning the ropes from his Powell grandfather, Terry Newman.
Newman would cast and hold his grandson close, telling him to keep the line taut so he could feel the strikes. And the fish were striking.
Cole pulled in a nice rainbow, and his mother, Kerrie Young, was close at hand cheering him on.
“I'm a good fisherman,” Cole said.
Meanwhile, the trout lurked silently along the edge like silver torpedos. Often, gentle acclamations could be heard around the circular concrete shoreline as the anglers landed trout that slapped the concrete like flip-flops on summer feet.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department donated bait and fishing poles for kids in need of tackle, and the district gave a boat-load of Spider Man and Barbie doll fishing poles as prizes, Hernandez said.
One trout in the pond had a tag. The angler who caught it would win a $50 bond from Wells Fargo Bank, Hernandez said.
The kids enjoyed themselves and so did parents and grandparents. Hernandez, too, was having fun making announcements on a bull horn and checking off kids from a list as they lined up to try their luck.
Hernandez also got a kick out of the expressions of the successful anglers.
“The look on their faces,” he said.