Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Derby Day.... NWR Style...

No, not a horse race...  but a FISHING DERBY! 

A lot of National Wildlife Refuges (at least those with water) sponsor a fishing derby every year.  Often a Friends group actually puts on this event.  It takes a lot of work....  there is so much involved...

Here at Aroostook NWR, the refuge buys rainbow trout from a fish hatchery, which is about 20 miles north.
The Fishing Derby was today.. Saturday, June 9.  The fish were delivered yesterday...  300 rainbow trout... most 8"-9" in length.  They try to wait as late possible to stock the pond as a family of otters can (and will) clean out the fish in a very short time.  The above pictures show the way the fish are brought here and put in the pond. 

Most of the Friends Group arrived here around 7am this morning.  They put up the tables for registration and snacks, the tents, the litter barrels and all the other stuff they do.

The participants started arriving around 7:30 am.  
With their fishing poles, worms, and whatever other gear they needed.  The Refuge had plenty of extra fishing poles and packages of worms on hand for those that needed them.

 This is a family event...  Parents, relatives and friends bring the kids....  theirs, their kids friends, the neighbor kids.... whoever....
Here's the registration table...  with a few of the 63 kids that came today to have fun.

The derby is for kids 16 or under...  but..
they can have all the help they need...

That might mean baiting the hook...  

Or taking the fish off the hook...
No fishing license is required of any of the participants.

This is what the pond area looks like during the derby... those white bags you see on the ground are to put the caught fish in.  Each kid can catch six fish.  


I bet these kids will have great fish stories to tell!  AND...  just look at the size of that one in the bottom picture!

Each kid can catch 6 fish...  they keep them in the bag that is given to them when they register.  After 6 fish - or 11:30am - whichever comes first...
The bag of fish is weighed and that weight is recorded next to the kids name where they registered.

At the end of the Derby, the winners are announced...
On the left is the winner...  his total catch weighed 1.8 lbs.
The two boys in the middle tied for 2nd place at 1.6 lbs.
And on the right, the 3rd place winner's total was 1.4 lbs.

By noon the Derby is over.  There is very little litter left...  
The Friends fold up their tables and tents.
They load up the left over snacks.
We take down the signs and
Take the Recycle and Trash barrels back to the Maintenance shop.

The Friends monthly meeting is Monday evening and we'll know how many of the 300 fish were caught and the group members will critique the event.
Discussing what changes need to made next year and things like that.

But in my opinion the
 2012 Aroostook NWR Fishing Derby
was a huge success!

That's All for Today

(I wrote this blog on Saturday, but due to internet connection problems couldn't post it until Sunday AM)


  1. Love your header photo. Great day of fun for kids! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great fun for all the kids and kids at heart. Great photos of the happenings.

  3. I heartily encourage you to crop your photo from the top shot and use it on your sidebar. You have a sweet, youthful face and the current sidebar picture does not do you justice!

  4. Lots of fun for the "older" and younger kids!
    But I really was shocked how they "stock" the fish. We learned to do to it the gentle way, fish is a living creature and not a "unit". What they do is like throwing a bucket of pebbles into the cold water, shock like.
    We learned to lower the bucket into the water and let the fish swim out on their own.

  5. We had kids fishing day in Colorado too. In a few days they will bring folks out from the local nursing home to fish and then a few days after that we will have disabled kids. If there are any fish left after all that, the staff and folunteers get to fish.
    Love your new header photo!

  6. Love the photos of the children. This is such a great memory they are making. Looks like all had fun. I just discovered your blog. Can you tell me what you are using for a "game camera"? Wishing you well and keep up the great pics.

  7. It looks like a great, fun day for everyone involved. I love things like this for kids. If they are lucky enough to have folks to bring them, they will have great memories. I'm curious how many of the fish were caught.

  8. Can't think of a better way to spend a day volunteering! My heart would be filled with joy for quite awhile after a day like that with all those kids having such a good time!