Conservation committee gears up for annual kids fishing event

Kids, grab your fishing poles! It's time again for the annual Kids Fishing Derby at the Skaneateles Conservation Area pond.

The ninth annual event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the pond off Old Seneca Turnpike and children ages 3 to 15 will have the opportunity to get out in nature, said Rose Thompson, chairwoman for the derby.

"[The derby is] to bring more kids into the outdoors and making it fun in the process," she said. "If they can hold a pole in their hand they can fish the derby."

Last year there were 111 children who attended the derby and as in years past each receives prizes and other goodies for being part of the event. Prizes are given out for things like the most number of fish caught and the largest fish, and last year Thompson started a new category -- a prize for the smallest fish caught.

There are weigh stations set up around the pond for kids to go get their fish weighed and measured with the hopes they will be one of the winners at the end of the day.

Each child who registers for the derby also receives a T-shirt with a list of sponsors emblazoned on the back and a baggy of candy.

The Skaneateles Conservation Committee, which oversees the event, has Department of Environmental Conservation personnel on site to help with the children along with 30 or more volunteers organized by the derby committee.

"We walk around and some of the parents don't know quite a lot but they like to do something with their kids," Thompson said about the family-friendly event. "It's a learning process is what it is for these kids."

According to Thompson, every child catches a fish. The pond has a lot of blue gill in it, but there's also a chance that one lucky little fisher will catch the bass that has made its home in the pond, which is estimated to be at least 20 inches long.

"There's a really big bass in there so there's a potential to catch a big fish," Thompson said. "The little ones like catching the blue gills. They basically throw a worm out there and catch a fish."

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