Once again, the William G. Clark Fishing Education Pond (across the street from the Jefferson Township High School) was busy with eager children participating in the annual Youth Fishing Derby sponsored by The Fred S. Burroughs North Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Sparta, NJ on Saturday, July 8.
This group of dedicated volunteers has been sponsoring this free contest for some 10 years in conjunction with the Jefferson Arts Committee’s annual Jefferson Township Day event. Although the JAC modified the celebration this year, and it is now known as Jefferson Fest, Trout Unlimited decided to continue their tradition and bear the entire cost of this event themselves rather than relying on the JAC to absorb the cost of the prizes.
Earlier in the week, the pond had been stocked with a total of about 200 blue gills and cat fish from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Hackettstown Hatchery so there were plenty of fish to be caught. In past years, they also stocked largemouth bass and pickerels for the event, some of which are still in there! Catch and release was enforced by Trout Unlimited volunteers who measured and recorded each fish caught during the derby.
Dedicated members including Willi Huber, John Saltzman, Rich Egge, Joe Devenney, Sue Reed, Dean Blumetti, Derek Groff, Bill Francisco, Frank Abrusio, Bill Craig, and Stan Tryba were on hand to welcome the 48 children under the age of 15 who participated that afternoon. Children had to register in accordance with the Morris County Park Commission and the Jefferson Township Recreation Department rules, only registered kids could fish this pond, and adults only if they were assisting a registered participant on this derby day. So, parents with children in tow carrying fishing rods, lures, nets, tackle boxes, and chairs found their spot around the pond or under the shade trees and got to some serious fishing.
Every eligible child who participated took home a fishing lure as a door prize; and bobbers and coloring books were available to all children courtesy of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The children were awarded prizes based on their age category for the most fish caught, the largest fish caught, etc. First place winners in each category received a spinning rod, reel, tackle box and a net. Second place winners in each category received a spinning rod, reel and net while third place winners in each category received a spinning rod and reel. The child who caught the biggest fish regardless of age group won a fly rod and reel outfit.
Trout Unlimited is grateful to Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna, Target in Rockaway, and Wal-Mart in Rockaway for their generous financial support to help defray the cost of the prizes for the participating children as well as to the adults who made a donation to help defray the costs of the event. Trout Unlimited was thrilled at the turnout and expect to return next year for the second annual Jefferson Fest event.
The Jefferson Arts Committee wishes to thank all of the Fred S. Burroughs North Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited Chapter volunteers who gave of their time and talents to make this fishing derby a success!
Winners of the Jefferson Fishing Derby - July 8 2017
Overall Winner: Roxanna Wida, Jefferson, age 10, 13" Catfish
1st: Logan Mayol, Lake Hopatcong, age 5, 12" Bass
2nd: April Swanson, Union Twp., age 6, 8" Sunny
3rd: Blake, Lake Hopatcong, age 3, 7 ¼” Bluegill
1st: Jesse Chalmers, Lake Hopatcong, age 8, 13" Large Mouth Bass
2nd: Zach Pomerance, Oak Ridge, age 7, 8" Perch
3rd: Giuliana Ramirez, Oak Ridge, age 7, 7.5" Bluegill
1st: Evan Corso, Jefferson, age 10, 12" Catfish
2nd: Justin Reed, Jefferson, age 10, 9.25" Bass
1st: Vance Negrotto, Oak Ridge, age 11, 12" Bass
2nd: Kevin Thumser, Jefferson, age 12, 10" Bass
3rd: Brianna McBride, Jefferson, age 11, 8" Catfish
1st: Tyler Westhove, Lake Hopatcong, age 13, 7" Bluegill
2nd: Nico Celentano, Jefferson, age 14, 7" Bluegill