Saugerties youngsters should be pulling their fishing gear out of the back of the garage and digging up worms because this Sunday, May 18 is the third annual Saugerties Fish and Game Club’s Youth Fishing Derby at the Blue Mountain Reservoir.
“We’re stocking the reservoir with brown trout this week to try and ensure that all the kids have the opportunity to catch a fish,” said derby chair Bill Schirmer.
Begun three years ago, when Mike Hopf, superintendent of the village’s water system, asked the Fish and Game Club if it would be interested in running a fishing derby at the reservoir located off Blue Mountain Rd., the event quickly caught on. Schirmer, who was then president of the club, said he really “had no idea that this would be as popular as it is.”
That first year, more than 100 youngsters aged 15 and under showed up with their parents to try and catch a fish. Last year on a rainy Sunday, more than 80 kids turned out, and this year “we’re hoping for nice weather and a great turnout again,” Schirmer said.
Mayor William Murphy called the derby “a great team-run event.”
In the first year, kids caught mostly sucker fish, and in a number of cases, the same sucker fish.
“But for the last two years, we’ve been buying brown trout from the state and stocking the reservoir,” said Schirmer.
For those looking for a tip on what to use to catch fish, Schirmer recommends worms or small bait fish, “use a bobber,” and “have fun.”
While most youngsters will use spin cast equipment, Schirmer said fly-fishing equipment is also permitted as long as the youngster using it is careful not to hook any of his fellow fishermen.
Hopf said kids seemed to have the most luck fishing at the top of the reservoir, on the opposite end from the dam.
Prizes will be awarded to youngsters in three age groups and include gift cards to Saugerties Outfitters and Gander Mountain. Most of the prizes and food are donated by local businesses, Schirmer said, and anyone that would like to donate to this year’s event can do so by calling 340-9597 or (914) 466-0326.
Registration begins at 8 a.m., and fishing runs from 9 a.m. till noon. Fish and Game Club members serve up water, and hot dogs as well as coffee and bagels for the early arrivals.