Fishing Derby Shines Despite Rain Showers

by Lynne Ober

The 31st annual fishing derby held in Litchfield and sponsored by the Litchfield Conservation Committee began with gentle rain showers falling, but they soon stopped.

“This is a family affair for us,” smiled Jay Smith, who pointed out that his father, Frank, always brought his trailer because “we have six girls and girls need the bathroom.”  The sisters are obviously used to their father’s gentle teasing as they collectively rolled their eyes.  “We started coming when the girls were little and had tiny fishing poles and we’ve just kept coming.”  Emily Smith, 9, was pleased that she had already caught two trout and two catfish and as her father watched, she reeled in a third trout.

The pond was just stocked with about 500 fish according to Conservation Commission Chairman Joan McKibben, who said that half of the fish came from Sumner Brook Fish Farm and the other half from the state.  “Fish and Game matches with a fish donation,” she said.  “Continental Paving gave us a donation and the Ducharme Family generously lets us use their land and pond.  The Mountain Road Trading Post donated a prize of two canoe rentals.”

Julia Mango, 6, and her sister Lily Mango, 11, were also fishing.  Julia happily announced that she caught two turtles and two clams.  When her older sister Lily dragged in a large twig instead of a fish, she quipped, “I caught a stick fish.”

Nathan Green, 2, is a very beginning fisherman.  With the help of his mom and dad, he was enjoying the day.  “I got a fishy,” Nathan chirped.

Cameron Barno, 11, and his father John, have been coming to the derby for seven years.  “I’ve been first or second every year,” stated Cameron, “but this year I haven’t caught anything yet.”

His father quipped that they would fish later at Hannaford’s if Cameron didn’t catch any fish.  “You don’t need a license or lose your bait at Hannaford’s,” he grinned.

Hayden Hartman, 11, brought his fish to be measured and said that his dad was helping his three-year old brother learn how to fish.

Marion Godzik, who also sits on the Conservation Commission, was registering the young fishermen and watching them get their fish measured.  “This is just a fun morning for families and gives them something to do together.  I hope we continue to do this every year.”