WEIRTON - The smile on little James Fletcher's face was a giveaway.
Fletcher, 7, his younger brother Joseph, 6, and cousin Abbey Pratt were guests of honor Monday when some two dozen volunteers gathered to release more than 5,000 pounds of trout into streams and lakes in Hancock County.
The annual trout stocking, funded with a $7,500 grant from the county and $7,500 obtained through the efforts of state Senators Jack Yost and Rocky Fitzsimmons, is dedicated to the memory of an individual who works to further the sport.
STOCKING TIME — James Fletcher, 7, releases a Rainbow Trout Monday into the waters of Kings Creek with the help of Rich Pratt, kneeling, and Paul Tokash. More than 5,000 pounds of trout were stocked Monday in Kings Creek and at Tomlinson Run. -- Linda Harris
This year's honoree was the late Robert Pratt, an avid outdoorsman who had generously volunteered his time year after year to help stock Hancock County waterways with trout. "He passed away in September 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer," event organizer Ed Bowman said. "We deeply appreciate all the work he did."
The boys, dressed in T-shirts bearing their grandfather's name as well as the names of fishing holes along Kings Creek, waited impatiently for their buckets to be filled with fish, then scampered down the bank to release them, much to the delight of family members who'd gathered for the remembrance.
Also assisting the Kings Creek stocking was Elijah Connell, 11, of Steubenville, who used it as a scouting project. Connell is graduating from Cub Scouts to Webelo and is working on his Arrow of Light award.
Adult volunteers also stocked Tomlinson Run.