I was in Helen, GA, March 29th and 30th (Friday and Saturday). The town’s annual trout tournament (24th overall) was held Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tagged trout were worth $500, $250, $100, $50, and $25. The higher the dollar value, the fewer trout were tagged. No one caught the sole $500 tagged trout. So, next year’s jackpot will be worth $1000 (rollover with this year’s $500 jackpot).
At check-in time, there was one $250 trout, one $50 trout, and about 10 $25 trout. I was one of the “$25 trout” anglers. Something is better than nothing. All tagged trout were rainbows a minimum of three (3) pounds! Thank you Tellico Trout Farm in Tellico, NC.
I will spare the many details of the layout of the tournament format. I consider it worth noting that the tagged trout are stocked at different points in the Chattahoochee River in Helen after midnight the morning of the tournament so that no angler knows the exact location of the fish. Untagged trout, rainbows and brookies, were stocked the day before by the Georgia DNR to assure plenty of fish would be caught (brown trout would be caught, too). Only tagged trout (again, all tagged trout were rainbows) needed be brought to the check-in.
The one I caught was a 20-incher between three and four pounds. I gave it away to a family since I was not able to keep it alive at check-in time. Otherwise I would have clipped the tag and released it. I kept it alive till check-in time, but then it died for being out of the water for so long. 🙁
It was a lot of fun. Admittedly, I did not know what to expect since this was my first competitive fishing tournament.
Everybody around you looks at you when you hook a fish! Everybody wants to hold it, touch it, get close up view of it, especially the kids and teenagers. I do not mind. Showing your catch at a tournament is part of the fun.