FRANKLIN, W.Va. — Pendleton County and the town of Franklin are putting on the dog this weekend all in celebration of the county’s draw as a trout fishing destination in West Virginia.
“This is the 15th year for the event, but it’s always been called Spring Fest,” said Laura Brown, Director of the Pendleton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This year it’s been renamed the West Virginia Trout Festival.”
The name change made sense because of the popularity of trout fishing in many of the county’s high mountain streams. The event seems to have captured the attention of many all across the Potomac Highlands and even into the state of Virginia.
“We have a lot of outdoor vendors who are coming, including some from over in Virginia,” Brown explained. “We have three wineries and two cider makers who will be here and they are all from West Virginia.”
Those are just a small sampling of what Brown expects to be a full-on weekend packed with festival activities. Central to the celebration is of course is trout fishing. The South Branch of the Potomac River flows through the town and is one of the weekly waters in the Division of Natural Resources’ Stocking program. Anglers are invited into town to enjoy live music, food, vendors and of course the fishing. There will be a number of hands-on activities for kids Saturday afternoon put on by Trout Unlimited, the West Virginia DNR and several other conservation organizations. .
“We encourage everybody to fish all weekend, but from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday we have a trout rodeo,” Brown said. “We will stock fish in a section of the river here in town. Part of it will be roped off for kids, but everybody can fish for prizes.”
Some of the trout stocked will be specially tagged. The tags will be worth $5 to $50. One fish will have a tag worth $1,000. Anglers must be properly licensed, but to qualify to win the prizes, must also be registered with the festival. Registration will be Friday 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. or Saturday from 6:30 am. -11:30 a.m.
The events get started Friday evening, with the annual fish dinner from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Franklin Community Building. Yours truly will be speaking at the event and tickets are still available.
“The fish dinner is a big fundraiser which helps pay for a lot of the festival,” Brown said.
Saturday’s West Virginia Outdoors Radio show on MetroNews will originate live from Franklin at 7:06 a.m. Festival events run through Sunday afternoon.