Fishin’ in the City
GLOVERSVILLE – About 120 children braved the wet and chilly weather Saturday morning to angle for rainbow trout in the Gloversville Recreation Commission’s youth fishing derby at Wohlfarth’s Pond.
“I think we had a great turnout considering the weather,” Recreation Commission member Jean Chain said.
Alana Bishop won the trophy for the biggest fish, having caught a trout just shy of a foot long.
Seventh-grader Stephen Starin caught the first fish of the morning.
“The heart gets beating a little faster,” Starin said of the experience. “It hits you like a shock.”
Starin is no stranger to fishing, having gone fishing since he was 6. He said his biggest catch ever was a fish more than 2 feet long.
Chain said the city had stopped hosting the annual fishing derby about five years ago.
“We wanted to bring it back,” she said.
She said the Recreation Commission plans on making the derby an annual event, again but she speculated it may be done later in the spring for better weather.
“A lot of the public thinks the Recreation Commission is nothing but athletics – soccer, baseball, football,” Recreation Commission Chairman Jeff Ashe said. “This derby is different. It brings the whole community together.”
Ashe said he came to the pond on several days before the contest to check on the ice on the pond, and it fully cleared last Tuesday. He said the commission got a few extra fish for the derby in order to make sure there were enough in the pond.
“I think it’s great to have people here. This is something I did as a kid,” Ashe said.
Avery Trout Hatchery in Meco stocked the pond with 70 Rainbow Trout on Friday.
Boy Scout Troop 51 from Broadalbin had camped overnight to make sure no one sneaked in to fish before the derby’s official start. Some people arrived as early as 6 a.m. Saturday to claim their fishing spots.
Scout Committee Chairman Jason Brott said Gloversville police shined their spotlights once in a while to make sure everything was all right with the Scouts.
“The boys did all right,” Brott said. “They got a little chilly, but they’re used to camping out.”
Walter Buyce, who came to the derby with his son Aiden, said fishing is something they do as family on weekends at the pond.
“It is just a good time,” he said. “My dad and uncle took me on fishing trips when I was young.”
Jan Wiedemann of Caroga said she and her family first read about the fishing derby in The Leader-Herald.
“This is our second fishing contest this year; the first one was at the Sprite Club near St. Johnsville,” she said. “It is becoming a tradition.”
The Wiedemanns brought special fishing gloves for their daughter, Jenna Wiedemann, in case she needed to unhook a fish.
“Even if it rained, Jenna would bring her snowpants and boots and we’d be fishing,” Jan Wiedemann said.
Gloversville Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio said she appreciates the effort by the Recreation Commission and volunteers, and the donations from individuals and local stores in reestablishing the fishing derby.
“They used to do this a number of years ago, and it is just great that it is coming back for the kids,” she said.
The Recreation Commission plans to host a bicycle rodeo in June and a golf clinic and a tennis clinic later this year.
Greg Hitchcock can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.