Fishing Derby Thrills Children of All Ages

Children one year of age through 12 got in the first round of fishing on May 20 as the North Branch Kids Trout Derby chalked up another successful year in Lovelton. Teens fished in the afternoon, and children with special needs had the pond to themselves on May 21.

Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk

Hundreds of youths and their extended families converged on a relatively tiny pond on the outskirts of Lovelton in Wyoming County last Saturday to participate in the annual North Branch Kids Trout Derby. Organizers said that attendance was down a little bit due to the threat of rain, but anybody visiting for the first time would be hard pressed to imagine that more people could fit into what has become a truly magical place for so many.

Harry Shaw (above, left) of Bucks County and Bruce Pitts (right) from the Back Mountain are the key organizers and officers of the North Branch Trout Derby Association, simultaneously manning a sturdy dock that juts out over one end of the pond from a large pavilion. When strains of country and bluegrass music are not filling the air, the men are making announcements and conducting pop-up contests within the ongoing competition.

Shaw and Pitts credit Clesson Shotwell and Chuck Richter for starting the fishing derby, which ran from 1980 to about 1995. They’re grateful as well to landowners Timmy and Bev Poole for allowing them to resurrect the popular event for a new generation. The property has been in the Poole’s extended family for at least 60 years, according to their son, Chris.

We were fortunate to have our kids fish here when they were younger, and they were nice enough to to let us start it back up,” said Pitts. “We’ve been really fortunate with all of the donations to keep this up and make it grow.”

Grow” seems to be an understatement as Pitts and Shaw point to the large pavilion built three years ago and a very busy food stand added just last year. The pond was expanded, and a new platform constructed. Prizes for the youths and for anyone who purchases Chinese auction tickets are donated by individuals and businesses far and wide. The foot bridge over adjacent Elwood Creek that leads to the site doesn’t look more than 10 years old.

The measured expansion includes the involvement of exhibitors, a bouncy house, a duck derby, a separate fishing adventure for youths with special needs on Sunday, and plans for a junior pheasant hunt on Oct. 14. For more information, interested readers may follow the North Branch Trout Derby Association on Facebook.

Here are the official results from the May 20 Derby, followed by numerous vendor and crowd shots from the event:

Ages 1-5

1st Place: Logan Greenwalt  22″   4.2 lb

2nd Place: MillieRose Fisher  21 3/4″  4.2lb

3rd Place:  Lucas Brunner  18 1/4 ”  2.8lb

4th Place:  Hannah  Krogulski 16 3/4″  1.6lb 

Ages 6-7

1st Place:  Maddox Fink  18 1/4″  2.2lb

2nd Place:  Preston Fenton  17 1/8″  2lb

3rd Place:  Paisley Decker  17″  1.8lb

4th Place:  Cole Sorber  15 1/2″  1.4lb

Ages 8-10

1st Place:  Kierra McAndrew  20 5/8″  3lb

2nd Place:  Kaydence Suarez  19 1/2″  3lb

3rd Place:  Sabrina Finelly  19:  3.4lb

4th Place:  Code Ide  18 1/4″  2.6lb

Ages 11-12

1st Place:  Keegan Rusyn  22″  4.6lb

2nd Place:  Colton Krogulski 17 3/8″  1.8lb

3rd Place:  Zachary Parker  15 1/4″  1.8lb

4th Place:  Adrianna Pitts  14 1/4″  1lb

Ages 13-16

1st Place:  Michael Orleski  21″  4lb

2nd Place:  Michael Finelly  17 1/4″  2.2lb

3rd Place  Emily Tyszko  16 3/4″  1.8lb

Mike Bullock (above, right) of Tunkhannock holds a prize-winning trout caught by 5-year-old Lucas Brunner of Dupont (orange cap) before cleaning it for him to take home. Bullock was assisted by William Wertz of Tunkhannock (not pictured.)

Twins Izaak (above, left) and Izayah Fornier of Mehoopany had stringers of fish to take home with them on May 20.

Kacie Fisk (above, left) of Dupont won a Visa gift card for reeling in one of the few catfish in the pond during the Kids Trout Derby. She was fishing with her father, Chris.

Assisting with the Duck Derby were (above, from left) Mariah Tague, Grace Richter, Harrison Fenton, and Crystalynn Richter. 

Chip Sorber (above) of the Quality Deer Management Association explains how to judge the approximate age of a deer by its teeth.

Kris Wiggans (above, left) and Barb Honeywell, bith of Sugar Run, were selling T-shirts to support the Kids Trout Derby.

Families line the bridge over Elwood Creek to watch for their ducks to float down stream during one of many duck derbies conducted on May 20.

Robin Robinson (above), president of the Endless Mountains Primitive Outdoorsmen, displays a variety of animal skulls and Native American artifacts.

Crowd Shots! Can you find yourself and your friends in these photos?

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