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Lake Vesuvius receives stock of trout

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

PEDRO, Ohio -- As about 500 people found out Thursday at Lake Vesuvius, it was a good day to go fishing.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife released 2,650 10 to 12-inch rainbow trout at the Lake Vesuvius boat dock to kick off the 10th annual Wheelin' Sportsmen fishing day, said Dustin Thompson of the division's Kincaid Fish Hatchery.

Dozens of disabled individuals and residents from local nursing homes took advantage of a beautiful spring day to try to catch a fish.

Frank McKinney, a Carter County, Ky., native staying at a local nursing home, said he got "not even a nibble" on his fishing rod, "but it was good to get out."

Gary Arthur of Minford, Ohio, had a better day but nothing to show for it. "I catch them and release them," Arthur said. Arthur checks out the division website to see where trout are being stocked in local lakes.

"My dad taught me to fish," Arthur said. "He's gone now. We had a lot of good times together fishing."

Hempstead Manor nursing home in Portsmouth, Ohio, brought two buses of nursing home residents to the lake. "We've been doing this at least five years now," she said. "We look forward to it. Spring is here. It's our first event of the season. We look forward to this every year."

More than 30 students from the Open Door School in Ironton were among those Thursday with fishing poles, said Travis Wise, a teacher at the school.

"We sent forms home with them about a month ago," Wise said. "Some of them have been out here a number of times. It's a big day for them. They love it."

Tami Tordiff, a special education teacher at Rock Hill Middle School, brought more than two dozen students to the event for the second year in a row.

"They were very excited," Tordiff said. "It's a perfect day for it. They remembered it from last year. It's a great day for the kids."

The event is geared for anyone who has physical disabilities, said Tim Slone, Ironton district ranger at the Wayne National Forest. "Nationally, it's the biggest Wheelin' Sportsmen event," he said. "They're just tickled to get outdoors. It's a big deal to this community. We have at least 80 volunteers."

The event seems to grow every year, said Earl "Buddy" Fry, of the South Hills Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, one of the main sponsors of the fishing day.

"More nursing homes are participating," Fry said. "Their opportunities are limited. This is unique. We're offering them something different."



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