I had a couple sleepless nights scratching my head and just wondering how in the world we were going to make this happen. The trout pond at the Elmwood All Outdoors Show was something that seemed so easy in theory to do and setup last fall and over the winter, but all of a sudden out of nowhere it was already March 6th and showtime: now how in the world do we pull this off???
Just filling up the pond with 6,000 gallons of water was no easy task and would have been impossible without the help of the Elmwood Fire Department. We got er filled wednesday evening with a couple fire trucks and a deep well. Then on Thursday morning we found out that condensation and a couple hairpin leaks just wasnt going to work out inside the school building (I bet the school administration was a bit more freaked out than I was though). Anyhow, we drained the pond and then set er back up just outside the gym and filled er back up again, this time from a fire hydrant. The problem with city water is the chlorine and other stuff they use to treat it, so we had to dechlorinate the water.
Doesnt sound like that big of a deal, but in all honesty I was scrambling this whole time and not too confident we were going to pull this off. Then Friday morning at 5 am Justin and I headed up to Wisconsin to pick up the trout. We got em loaded up and were back to Elmwood by 4 pm and crossed our fingers as we plopped em into the city water. The DNR also brought some really cool fish for the kids to see in the pond as well! I didnt sleep too well that night and rushed over to the pond at the crack of dawn with my fingers crossed hoping I wouldnt raise the tarp and see a whole bunch of belly up fish.
We infused the water with pure oxygen all night long in order to help the fish recover from their transportation and stress. When I got to the pond and all the fish were doing great, I could finally breathe a nice sigh of relief. I knew it was all gonna be good from hear on out. I figured we would have about 40-50 kids come down and have the time of their life catching some awesome fish, but what happened today just blew my expectations out of the water! From 9 am to 4 pm we had a steady flow of literally thousands of people gathered around the pond watching their kids and grandkids catch the fish of their lifetime! The local taxidermists at the show actually got some business today, that was so awesome. We had several hundred kids all catch fish today with the help from Chef Todd, Kevin Curless, Justin Herman, myself, and a volunteer who I never caught his name, but need to do so tomorrow because he did an amazing job with the kids.
Anyhow, here are some pics from today. I would have to rank this trout pond as probably the best I have ever seen at a show! We actually let the kids take the fish home to eat if they wanted to and about 75 kids did!!
I estimate that we had 30-40 kids catch fish every hour, and about once per hour we hooked into one of the 5 monster blue catfish in the pond! Those lucky kids had the battle of their life! There was never less than 10 kids in line from the moment the show started! Not only was the trout pond a complete hit, but the whole show was just awesome. The deer measuring and Buck contest sold out completely with well over 100 monster deer on display, and all the vendors did alot of business today. We sold out of just about everything that we brought to our booth! I have never sold this much stuff at any other show I have ever been to. Tomorrow we do it all again, its great and fun, but I am glad this is just a 2 day show: I am going to sleep good tonight.