Kids defeat fish in traditional yearly stand-off

By on April 6, 2016
Mikey Nixon, Ephrata, is happy with his catch.

Mikey Nixon, Ephrata, is happy with his catch.

An opening day tradition

About a dozen members of the Lititz Sportsman’s Association arrived at the riparian park before the sun Saturday morning, 5 a.m. to be exact, to set up for the annual kids fishing derby. It’s a local tradition for the opening day of trout season.

Cold, wet and windy weather cut into the number of 15-and-under anglers this year, but association president Dick Fridinger said they nevertheless had 70 kids registered for the 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. event. The sportsmen stocked 500 trout at 7 a.m., and another 500 at 10 a.m. The kids caught 200 of the stocked fish, but Fridinger said many of the 800 that escaped would probably be reeled in by the adults who would descend on the Lititz Run location after 1 p.m.

Owen Berk went to the derby with his dad Dave, a D.C. fireman  who commutes to his job from East Hempfield Townsh

Owen Berk went to the derby with his dad Dave, a D.C. fireman who commutes to his job from East Hempfield Townsh

The fish came from the sportsmen’s own nursery about a quarter-mile upstream from the site of the fishing derby. The day’s derby winners included Zach Clare of Lititz, whose 14.5-inch rainbow was the largest fish. Owen Berk’s 13.5-incher came in second. First fisherman to catch the five-fish limit was Taylor Bruno, Ephrata. Jordon Wentzel of Lititz was second to hit the limit; and Finn Shaughnessy, Lititz, was third to hook five.

Brycen Hooper gets a hand from Armine Martin. They are from  Ephrata.

Brycen Hooper gets a hand from Armine Martin. They are from Ephrata.

Fridinger said the association’s next event is a free fish day, no license required, on May 29, when they’ll be stocking 500 trout. A handicap fishing derby is scheduled for June 5, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with as many as 700 stocked. Both events are at the riparian park, located at the intersection of Route 772 and Clay Road.

Dick Wanner is a staff reporter and photographer. He welcomes reader feedback at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com. 

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