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Green Mountain Angler
Wins Lifetime Fishing License
Commission Chairman John Pechmann, left, presented Kelsey with her lifetime fishing license. Kelsey's mother Tami was also in attendance.
Mountain trout fishing is Kelsey's favorite type of fishing.

RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 2)—Kelsey McKinney loves to fish. Thanks to Remington Arms and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the Green Mountain angler will be able to indulge that passion for the rest of her life—without ever having to pay for a fishing license!

Kelsey, 11, the daughter of Tami and Robert McKinney, edged out an estimated 1,500 other young anglers to win a lifetime comprehensive fishing license, the grand prize offered in a statewide drawing for attendees in 17 Commission-supported fishing clinics held in June.

Commission Chairman John Pechmann presented Kelsey with her lifetime fishing license as well as a certificate of recognition at the August 27 Commissioner’s meeting in Raleigh. The license, valued at $250, gives Kelsey lifetime fishing privileges in all public waters, including designated Public Mountain Trout Waters, which are, coincidentally, where her favorite fish to catch are found.

“I started fishing when I was four, and the very first fish I ever caught was a trout,” Kelsey said. “They’re my favorite fish because they taste good and they’re easy to catch.”

Easy to catch for a young angler who just recently won her first fishing competition, taking second place in the Biggest Fish Contest held during the June 7 Kids’ Fishing Day event at South Toe Creek, Carolina Hemlocks in Yancey County.

She caught her 2-pound, 22-inch lunker rainbow using a Zebco 33 rod and Roostertail spinner. “I had my line in the water and I felt something jerk my line, and it just took off,” Kelsey said. “I reeled and reeled until I finally got it in.”

On hand to watch Kelsey reel in her winning catch was her dad and 9-year-old brother, Aaron, two people whom she outfishes on a consistent basis.

“I always beat them at fishing,” Kelsey said, giggling. “I catch a fish every time I go fishing!”

Kelsey attributes her keen angling skills to her dad, who taught her and Aaron how to fish and who continues to take them fishing on a regular basis, outings that have special meaning for the budding outdoor enthusiast.

“I like to eat the fish that I catch,” Kelsey said. “I have fun getting outside, playing with my brother and spending time with my family.”

In addition to fishing, Kelsey also enjoys playing the piano and squirrel hunting. She is a sixth-grader at Cane River Middle School.

Along with Kelsey, 99 other young anglers statewide netted prizes at the fishing clinics, which were held in celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week in June.

Remington-Arms donated the grand prize, while Bass Pro Shops and the Commission donated nearly 100 other fishing-related prizes, including tackle boxes, rods and reels, fish identification cards, tape measures and spools of fishing line. A complete list of winners and prizes can be found on the Commission’s Web site,

“We would like to extend our appreciation to everyone who made the fishing clinics possible this year,” said Bob Curry, program manager for the Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries. “The Commission has always been a local supporter of kids’ fishing events by supplying fishing ‘grab bags,’ staffing fishing events and stocking fish in public waters. However, generous donations by Remington and Bass Pro Shops, along with the assistance of the U.S. Forest Service and local sponsors, have made these events fun and inexpensive outings for the entire family.”

The goal of the National Fishing and Boating Week clinics was to give children and their families an opportunity to learn about protecting and conserving aquatic resources while enjoying the thrill of reeling in a variety of Commission-stocked fishes, from catfish and sunfish in Piedmont and Coastal waters to trout in mountain streams.

“The future of freshwater fishing lies in the hands of anglers who should be taught at an early age to appreciate and conserve our state’s vast aquatic resources,” Curry said. “If we don’t introduce kids to the joys of fishing today, we may lose a group of people who will manage and protect these resources tomorrow.”




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