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Fishing Derby

Fishing Derby

I am always looking for an outdoor adventure. This past Wednesday, I headed north for something new and exciting. It was a gorgeous morning outside of Bodines, PA. My gear was in the car, but there were no plans of fishing. I met up with a few friends along Slack’s Run Road. I wanted to touch base with my chums from the Lycoming Creek Anglers.

“We have been doing this for a very long time,” Sam Caldwell of Loyalsock explained. “The Lycoming Creek Anglers Club is a small group of volunteers from the area that do a lot of good. We raise close to 11,000 trout each year. The Anglers then stock Lycoming Creek and her wonderful tributaries every Saturday in May.”

I couldn’t believe the quality and size of the fish they were growing. Each tank was filled with some amazing specimens. Most of the trout were less than a year old. Several were already getting close to a healthy 14 inches. Another tank had some of the trophies. I spent a good fifteen minutes drooling. I counted hundreds of beautiful Rainbows. All of the fish in this bin were absolute monsters. There were also a few 26-inch giants. 15 or so Goldens. It was incredible. Mind if I take a few pictures?

“We have been using a new feed that has changed the game completely,” Caldwell added. “This year’s crop is the nicest fish that we have ever raised. This stuff is amazing. It helps the fish grow and adds some additional color. You can really tell a major difference with these Rainbows. Look at that fish. She has been with us for two seasons. You see that stripe? Isn’t that amazing?”

This new feed is rather expensive. Everything is going up, kids. The Lycoming Creek Anglers will spend close to $9,500 on it this year alone. This is a hefty fee for this nonprofit organization. The Anglers solely rely on their memberships and donations. They do not receive any state or local funding. Nothing from the county. Not even a little love from the chamber. Now that I am retired. I am hoping to change that.

“We need some help,” Caldwell continued. “Our memberships are down, and our expenses continue to go up. Several of us aren’t getting any younger. We are constantly looking for new members. It is only $10 a year. $8 for kids. Right now, I’d say we have 650 or so. Our lowest total in quite a while.”

One of their biggest events is approaching. The annual Lycoming Creek Children’s Fishing Derby brings in hundreds of kiddos from all over the area. Jensen and I look forward to this special day every season. It is an all-day fishing extravaganza with tons of wonderful prizes for each youngster. The derby is slated for Saturday, June 4th, at the Sheshequin Campground. It is located seven miles north of Trout Run on Route 14. Look for the signs by the Marsh Hill Bridge. Boys and girls aged 3 to 13 are welcome rain or shine. Every youngster wins. Registration starts at 8:30 for the 3-4-year-olds. 10:00 a.m. for the 5-6-year-olds. 11:30 a.m. for the 7 through 9s. And 1:00 p.m. for the 10-13-year-olds. The one-hour fishing times are right after the individual registrations.

“We are hoping for another big turnout,” Caldwell mentioned. “We had 266 youngsters last year, and we want to top that. The plan is to drop 600 or so fish first thing in the morning: mostly rainbows and a few monster browns. Then we put in another 500 trout in the creek around lunch. We really enjoy this annual derby. It is our way of giving back to the community. The smiles from the kids makes it all worth it.”

Sam and a few others were loading the trucks that Wednesday. They were sending 500 trout to Rock Run that morning. I got to help with a few scoops. And loaded the oxidized trailer. It was very rewarding. I also enjoyed conversations with Mike Holdren, Bill Welsh, Fran Pratt, and Damian DiEuliis. My apologies if I didn’t mention your name. You were probably working. I loved hearing more about the process. All walks of life who share a common love. This small farm a few miles north is quite impressive. Special thanks to the entire operation. I am extremely proud to be associated with this great organization. Volunteers are tough to find these days. Please consider becoming a member or making a donation. Your funds can definitely make an impact on our local trout fishing. Hope to see you at the derby. Let me know if you need more information. Cheers.