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Young Anglers Reeling In Nice Fish at 2005 Children's Fishing Derby Events!!!

by Craig Lemon
Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery Superintendent
June 2, 2005

The 2005 Children's Fishing Derby season is off to a great start. Young anglers, both boys and girls, have started the season off reeling in some real beauties. Channel catfish, largemouth bass and sunfish stocked over the years by the Division's Hackettstown Hatchery are growing nicely and pulling down fishing bobbers all over New Jersey's park ponds. Loud screams of excitement mark the locations around the pond where youngsters are bringing in these trophies. Big smiles and even bigger fish tales are making for some great bragging rights in schools and photos in hometown newspapers.

With 40 events completed already this season, the Hackettstown Hatchery crew is looking forward to June's 45+ derbies to continue to bring family fun and smiles to thousands of faces around New Jersey. June derbies will be held in 18 different counties around the Garden State.

Youngsters at PAL derby
Youngsters at a PAL derby display their trophies
Click to enlarge
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to stock fish and give educational presentations at over 105 children's fishing events in 2005. In 2004, Division staff stocked fish and gave presentations at 93 of 98 events and the program reached out to over 20,000 Garden State anglers of all ages. (See photos of these memorable fishing events.)
Young angler with bass and officer
Young angler with conservation officer
Click to enlarge

Overall in 2005, 10,000 sunfish, 2,500 channel catfish and a mix of hundreds of brown bullhead, largemouth bass and black crappie will be stocked in neighborhood fishing holes around the state. These fishing events are sponsored by such groups as the NJ Division of Parks & Forestry, county park commissions, municipal groups, police organizations and others.

Fish handling demonstrations and fishing instruction will be a part of many of these events. The Division's staff of Fisheries Biologists, Technicians and Conservation Officers will be on hand at many of these events handing out bobbers and information and lending a helping hand, whether it be to bait a hook or take a fish off the line. Don't feel like you have to be a proficient angler to have fun with your children at these events. Many families who have never fished before get to experience their children catching their first fish at one of these derbies.

June 11 and 12 are "Free Fishing Days" in New Jersey, days when anyone can fish the public waters of the state without a license or trout stamp - so take the family or some friends out for a day of fishing and enjoy the Great Outdoors. Check the list of derbies (pdf, 52kb) for an event near you. Hope to see you at a derby this summer!

Click the thumbnails below to see an enlarged image of 2005 derby excitement, and see the Children's Derby page to find a derby near you.
Youngster and author with catfish Youngsters with fish and trophy Father, son and bass
Youngster with bass Youngster with albino catfish Boy with bass
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Last Updated: June 2, 2005