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Anglers reel in prize-winning trout at Chambersburg derby

May 05, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Several people piled into their vehicles on Sunday afternoon with more than a couple of trout and sunburn after a weekend of fishing.

Some anglers left with cash in their pockets when the 11th annual Chambersburg Noontime Lions Club Trout Derby drew to a close.

The two-day derby prompted more than 1,200 fishermen to take to the Conococheague Creek.

"It's amazing what happens when you throw $2,500 into the water. It tends to draw a crowd," said Dave Rotz, chairman of the trout derby's organizing committee.

The biggest trout, 20 1/2 inches long with a girth of 14 1/8 inches, was caught at noon Saturday by Mike Gerberich. The biggest trout contest, a 50/50 fundraiser for the club, paid out $1,925.

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For the third year, Evan Graff drove 210 miles from Tioga County, Pa., for the derby. He caught 2007's biggest trout, which was 23 1/2 inches long.

Graff stopped by the registration table during a break from fishing on Sunday afternoon.

"I caught a lot of trout, but no tags. I used up all my luck last year," he said.

A few fishermen traveled from as far as Florida and New York.

"Usually about 12 to 15 states are represented. There's a lot of people who use this as their vacation," said Dean Martin, president of the Chambersburg Noontime Lions Club.

"We bought 2,000 (trout) to put in the water, and about 600 have tags," Rotz said. The water level was high in the stocked area, which stretched from Scotland, Pa., to the soccer complex in the Borough of Chambersburg, he said.

The Chambersburg Noontime Lions Club presented the United Way of Franklin County with a check for $10,000 on Saturday. A pledge has been made to give the United Way an additional $5,000 each year for the next three years.

Other proceeds from the trout derby benefit the local, regional, national and international efforts of the Lions Club's commitment to vision services.

The Chambersburg club hosted a special contest on Saturday evening, giving two anglers the opportunity to throw a flying disc through a one-foot hole on a wooden board.

Each was guaranteed to walk away with $250, but neither succeeded in passing the disc through the hole to win a Toyota Tundra.

"It was a thank you to all the fishermen participating," Rotz said.

Jeff Truett and Nancy Marzullo, of Chambersburg, spent the weekend fishing with Brandon Truett, 9, and Brady Truett, 7.

Nancy Marzullo caught two tagged trout and one untagged trout on Saturday.

"I got them back to back," she said, describing the technique as "being in the right place at the right time."

The family had less luck on Sunday.

"I think they're all hiding somewhere," Jeff Truett said.

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