RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with Neuse Sport Shop and the N.C. Council of Trout Unlimited, presented two young anglers with lifetime licenses at the agency’s business meeting in Raleigh recently.
Blake Russell, 10, of Edenton, received a lifetime unified sportsman license, and Adeline Belcher, 6, also of Edenton, received a lifetime comprehensive inland fishing license as part of a random, statewide drawing for participants in 42 kids’ “Fish for Fun” events. The Wildlife Commission supported the free fishing events earlier this summer in celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week.
In addition to Blake and Adeline, 100 other young anglers across the state won fishing-related prizes — from rods and reels to tackle boxes courtesy of the Wildlife Commission. Winning at the Yadkin County Park event were 4-year-old Joey Hatchens of Yadkinville and 11-year-old Kelsey Leftwich of Winston-Salem.
Wildlife Commission Chairman John Litton Clark presented Blake and Adeline with their licenses. The unified lifetime sportsman license is valued at $450 and was donated by Russell Rhodes of Neuse Sport Shop, located in Kinston. Blake’s license will provide him fishing and hunting privileges in North Carolina for free for life — even if he moves out of state. These privileges include fishing in all public waters — from the mountains to the coast — as well as hunting for big game, hunting on game lands and waterfowl hunting.
Blake registered for the prize drawing on June 10 during the Pembroke Bass Club “Fish for Fun” Kids’ Fishing Event at Bayside Marina and Grill, located in Edenton. He is a familiar face at Bayside Marina, having fished there nearly every day of his life since he was three. He says he loves to fish, particularly for bass and sunfish, because they can put up a fight. In addition to fishing, Blake enjoys swimming and playing football. He is the son of Tiffany and Michael Russell, and is a rising fourth grader at D.F. Walker Elementary School in Edenton.
Adeline’s lifetime freshwater fishing license was donated by the N.C. Council of Trout Unlimited and provides Adeline with fishing privileges in all public, inland waters in North Carolina, including designated mountain trout waters, trout waters on game lands and joint waters.
Adeline registered for the prize drawing during a kids’ fishing event at the Edenton National Fish Hatchery on June 10. Like Blake, Adeline is an avid angler, having fished since she could hold a fishing rod. Adeline fishes with her family on the Chowan River where they reel in white perch and catfish. One of her favorite fishing methods for catching monster catfish involves teaming up with her dad to put a new twist on the reliable old fishing technique, “jugging.” Adeline and her dad cut pool noodles in half, then attach fishing line, sinker, hook and bait to the noodles, which are then set adrift on the water.
When she’s not on the river with her dad “noodling” for catfish, Adeline plays soccer and takes ballet. She is the daughter of Brandon and Julane Belcher and is a rising first grader at Lawrence Academy in Edenton.
Since 2001, the Commission, along with partners Neuse Sport Shop, Trout Unlimited and the U.S. Forest Service, has helped coordinate free fishing events across the state during National Fishing and Boating Week to promote fishing as a fun, family-friendly activity. For more information on National Fishing and Boating Week, visit the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.