It was an event far different than one you might expect at a water park. On a foggy Sept. 17 morning, Greene County residents gathered around the pool at the Greene County Water Park for the county’s parks and recreation department’s third annual Fishing Frenzy.
According to Bret Moore, the director of Greene County’s parks and recreation department, 100 children were expected to fish at the event. Combined with parents, Moore said that 300 total people were expected, similar numbers to the attendance at the past three events.
Moore said that the fish that are caught are taken home by families and eaten. However, not all of the fish are caught.
“Last year, we had two or three that made it all the way through to April. We ended up catching them when we opened the pool up and took them to the Waynesburg sportsmen’s club, where we released them,” he said. “Some of the staff fed them cat food over the winter.”
According to Moore, it only takes a week for a fully chlorinated pool to become hospitable for trout. However, the pool had not been fully chlorinated since it was closed for the summer, so it only took a few days for the water to become safe for the fish.
“We’ve been running the pool at a reduced chlorine level since we closed the pool two weeks ago,” he said. “It also depends on the amount of sun you have.”
The parks and recreation department also had lifeguards on hand to supervise. According to Abby Lake, the supervisor of lifeguards at the Greene County water park, there were five lifeguards stationed around the pool to ensure safety.
“We’re there to step in if somebody falls in accidentally, we are there to make sure that they’re safe around the water,” she said.
In the past three years of the event, Lake said that there have been no incidents.
“Knock on wood, nobody has fallen in, so hopefully we keep it that way,” she said.
Moore said the event is designed to get local children interested in fishing.
“That’s the main reason that why we try to do it, to get kids fishing. And we think this year is a great opportunity to do that,” he said. “It’s fun to do, you can see the fish bite in the swimming pool. It’s just a unique experience for kids,” he said.
According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, interest in fishing has increased during the pandemic years. According to the agency’s annual sales report, 865,973 licenses were sold in 2021, down from 934,259 in 2020, but greater than 777,087 in 2019.
In Greene County specifically, the agency sold 2,974 licenses, compared to 3,159 in 2020 and 2,989 in 2019. In 2011, Greene County residents bought 3,021 licenses.