Almost $6,000 worth of brook, rainbow, brown and golden trout swam in and around the downtown duck ponds Saturday for the annual children’s trout derby.
A number of those were caught by young anglers at the city’s biggest fishing event, which is sponsored each year by the Milford Striped Bass Club.
Bill Blotney, president of the Striped Bass Club, said on average, the fish stocked for the derby measured about 19 or 20 inches.
“A lot of fish probably swam upstream,” Blotney said. “This way, it’s sustained for a while.”
This was the 46th year for the derby. While participants don’t number as high as they did before soccer, lacrosse and other activities lured participants away, there were at least 100 children fishing Saturday at around 9 a.m. And one parent said there were even more children when the derby kicked off at 6 a.m.
A little more elbow room, and casting room, was okay with the kids who reeled in some impressive fish though. Maia Schwing, 9, is a regular at the derby. This is her fifth year, and she was quite pleased with a 13-inch brook trout she caught at about 10 a.m.
Her father, Greyson Schwing, is a member of the Devon Rotary, which donated $5,000 to the derby this year.
Last year, the Rotary stepped up when the derby was at risk of coming to an end due to lack of donations. The Rotary, with other groups in town that contributed funds, helped keep the derby alive.
Maia likes to fish, and she said she appreciates the annual derby. “We can go and catch fish and have fun,” she said, noting that one year she reeled in an 18.5-inch trout.
Mia Paskiewicz, 8, and Zayne Paskiewicz, 6, caught about seven fish between the two of them. There was “one golden trout,” they said, struggling to hold the fish strung to a single line.
Another regular at the event had a seat front row, as he does almost every year: Bob Mahoney, who started the derby 46 years ago with local businessman Pete Hebert.
Mahoney grew up in Milford, and one day many years ago he was driving by the pond and thought it was a shame that no one was fishing there. So he went to Pete Hebert at Hebert Jewelers and they each agreed to put up $50 to stock the pond and organize the fishing day for children.
Mahoney doesn’t live in Milford anymore, but he drives 275 miles each year to sit on the sidelines at the duck pond and watch the children fish. The only time he didn’t show up was when he was in the Army
Today the derby costs about $6,000. The money pays for trout to stock the Milford ponds, trophies, portable bathrooms and other expenses.
The Devon Rotary has pledged to support the derby into the future.
Rich Esposito, age 15, 19.5” rainbow
1ST Maia Schwing, age 9, 18.5“
2ND Carter Krenicki, age 3, 18.5”
3RD Brynn Herrera, age 7, 18”
Largest brook trout
1ST Dillon Hurley, age 5, 14”
2ND Mike Latella, age 6, 13 1/8”
3RD Cassidy Warakonski, age 9, 13”
Largest brown trout
1ST John Schmedlin, age 9, 14”
2ND Ben Massena, age 9, 14”
3rd Zayne Paskewitz, age 6, 14”
Largest golden trout
1ST Justin Forde, age 12,14.5”
2nd Alexis Purcaro, age 4, 14”
3rd MacKenzie Krenicki, age 4, 13.5”
Age 5 and under
Dillon Hurley and Alexis Purcaro
Ages 6 to 8
Charles Randall andAgnes Haynes
Ages 9 to 12
Caiden McManus and Taylor Rose
Ages 13 to 15
Dominick LaPuglia and Zowie Paskewitz