Fishing along Nolan Creek

Kelsie Graham, left, fly fishes with her brother, Thomas, center, and father, Matt, during a previous family fishing event along Nolan Creek in Belton.

The City of Belton Parks and Recreation Department is encouraging anyone interested in the sport of fishing to join the annual Family, Fishin’ and Fun event 2-4 p.m. Friday.

During the event, more than 1,000 rainbow trout will be released into Nolan Creek, part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife trout stocking program. No licenses will be required during the free fishing event.

A second Family, Fishin’ and Fun event will take place 2-4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28.

“We typically do it on those Fridays because the kids are out of school or they have a half day typically,” said Katrina McGaughey, parks and recreation event coordinator.

McGaughey said the staff will have a booth set up in the area behind The Gin at Nolan Creek, and will be providing bait and free hot chocolate. Participants will need to bring their own rods and other fishing equipment.

She said there will also be a contest for kids 12 and younger to see who can catch the longest trout.

Matt Bates, parks and recreation director, said the city partners with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which helps support the event by donating a portion of the rainbow trout. He said the city purchased more than 1,000 trout, which was matched by Parks and Wildlife, allowing them to host the second event at the end of the month.

Bates said people are welcome to come out and fish before or after the event, but parks and recreation staff will be onsite from 2-4 p.m.

“Several of us are angler instructors, so we help kids and parents who might be out there for the first time with how to attach the hook to your line, giving bait options, and we provide free bait for the event to those going to it,” he said. “So all that just basically to help people when they inevitably get tied up in a line or become tangled on something, we’ll be in there to help them out.”

Bates said another reason the two-hour time slot matters is because Parks and Wildlife will be waiving fishing licenses during that time.

“So that means that anybody can come fish with or without a license at the Nolan Creek from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.,” he said. “The reason why they do that, the reason why we’re proud of that, is it really brings people who are unfamiliar with fishing and the sport of it to really try their hand at it.”

Bates said participants can release the fish they catch, or they can keep up to five trout.