The Clark County Fish and Game Club has aged, but is getting better with time.
The club, founded in 1892, is considered one of the longest running fishing and gaming organizations in the state and gives its membership a place to hunt, fish and share fellowship with other members in the community.
“It very well may be the oldest active fish and game club in the state of Kentucky,” board member and vice president Allen Howard said. “It’s because of hunters and fishermen. People have done that (since) the early days, and hunting and fishing is something that a lot of people like to do. You meet a lot of good people and make a lot of friends.”
Joe Carrier, one of 12 men on the club’s current board, has been a member for the past 25 years and likes the activities the club has to offer. The club owns less than 20 acres in Clark County on Water Works Road and leases a 94-acre lake from Winchester Municipal Utilities. The current clubhouse was dedicated on Oct. 1, 1994.
“We have a nice lake to fish in, with a good fishery in it,” Carrier said. “When I came here we were in a one-room clubhouse on the lake. We have two boat ramps on the lake. We’ve got bass, blue gill, channel cats and blue cats. We put some muskie in there and some hybrid stripe (bass) at one time. We’ve got a lot of good sportsmen (in the club) and like to see it move forward.”
Howard, a vice president of the club, has been a member for 15 years and currently is in charge of clubhouse bookings. He is a past president and secretary. The organization, he said, is a “good activity” for its capped 501 members and their families. The club also sponsors a free youth fishing event each spring.
“We have a lot of activities to offer,” Howard said. “We’ve supported the community and various organizations here and there. There are several different organizations that we have sponsored or supported. Serving on the board is a way to give something back of what we’ve reaped.”
In addition to the Clark County location, the club also has a 143-acre farm in Washington County and also owns a 193 acres of land in Estill County, some of which borders the Kentucky River.
“We have a lot to offer,” Howard said. “If you don’t have parents, grandparents or friends that don’t own any property, it’s a very good deal and it’s economical.”
The club is a private entity and has its own set of rules and regulations. Members purchase one-time “ownership” into the club and pay a yearly fee, giving members special access to the clubhouse, fishing lake and also exclusive hunting privileges.
“I love the fishing, the deer hunting and (all of) the farms,” current club president Don Parker said. “We’re member-oriented and member-driven. We try to make it interesting for all of the members. We try to have something for everybody. We have a lot of people who come (to the monthly meeting) to enjoy the social part of it. That’s what drives the club.”
The monthly meeting features a potluck dinner with a main entree, with several side dishes and desert.
Board member Walter Newell grilled nearly 200 steaks prior to a board meeting earlier this month and serves as primary cook during the organization’s monthly meetings at the clubhouse.
“I’ve been a member for 40-something years,” he said. “I enjoy the social aspect of it and we do have some good fishing down here. It’s one of the few things I can do at my age now.”
Although the club has grown in numbers and size since Newell joined the organization in 1970, the potluck meals remain a favorite for members of the club.
“It’s gotten bigger and better, but the food has always been good,” he said.