I don’t know about you, but for me, fishing is a favorite pastime I enjoyed as a young girl. I still remember the excitement of the annual fishing contest we used to attend as children. Getting up early, grabbing our gear, getting sprayed down in a cloud of DEET. A quick breakfast later and we were off to catch Big Charlie. (Or sometimes little Charlie. Or sometimes, a cold.) Trying your luck in a fishing contest with your kids can become a treasured memory for a lifetime to come. Here are some fishing derbies and events scheduled for 2019 in our area.
Find a Local Fishing Contest
Spring is the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy the nature around us. Local fishing contests give your family an opportunity to spend time together doing something a little different.
Douglass Township Annual Trout Rodeo
When: Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: 170 Linsenbeidler Road, Gilbertsville, PA 19525
Notes: Prizes are usually awarded to the boy and girl with the largest fish. Register when you arrive; no preregistration necessary. This fishing contest is open to ages 15 and under.
Link: https://www.douglasstownship.org/media/16371/poster.pdf (may be last year’s date, but info is still good.)
Stony Creek Anglers 22nd Annual Trout Derby
When: Saturday,April 27, 2019 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, April 28, 2019 – 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Gates open at 6 a.m.) Rain or Shine.
Where: Norristown Farm Park & Norristown State Hospital Grounds; Germantown Pike & Barley Sheaf Dr./North Wales Rd. E. Norriton PA 19403
Notes: Prizes awarded for largest fish in age groups and tagged breeder trout. Donations requested from participants: $20 for age 16 and over, $10 from age 13 to 15, and $5 for age 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the trout nursery and programs for kids. There’s also a special pond for kids age 6 and under.
West Pottsgrove Township’s 6th Annual Fishing Derby
When: Saturday, May 4, 2019, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Rain or Shine)
Where:Ralph Murgia Park, Manatawny Street, Stowe, PA 19464
Notes: The West Pottsgrove Police Association invites all children under age 16 to participate with prizes in each age group. Each child receives one free hot dog and one free drink. Pre-register at the West Pottsgrove Police Station at The West Pottsgrove Township building located at 980 Grosstown Rd., Stowe. Parking for the derby is on Sell Road. **This event is not affiliated with the Pottsgrove School District** (Anyone interested in donating or volunteering, please call 610-323-2090.)
New Hanover Township Fishing Derby
When: Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Hickory Park, 2140 Big Road, Gilbertsville, PA 19525
Notes: This fishing contest awards prizes and usually has donuts for participants. We’ve gone a few years and our kids love it. They always play on the playground after the fishing contest is over. One year, my daughter was only about three years old and she won the contest for the smallest fish! We also love going to Hickory Park Restaurant for lunch or a late breakfast afterwards. Fish donated by Stony Creek Anglers.
PPOA Sponsored Fishing Derby
When: Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Registration is from 8 – 8:30 a.m.)
Where: 251 Manatawny Street, Pottstown PA 19464
Notes: Kids age 12 and under can enter this fishing contest with the Pottstown Police Officers. Hosted by Borough of Pottstown Parks and Recreation and sponsored by Pottstown Police Officers Associotion.
Northampton Township Parks & Recreation Fishing Contest
When: Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Where: Tyler State Park, Bucks County
Notes: This fishing contest may be a little far for you, depending on where you live. Tyler State Park is about 45 minutes from King of Prussia, but the park is absolutely stunning. I have not been to this fishing contest, but the park itself is worth checking out on a nice day. The cost is $10 per person or $30 for three or more.
Fish for Free Days 2019
Did you know in the state of Pennsylvania you can fish for free certain days? That’s right, no fishing license required. You also won’t need a trout stamp or permit for salmon or Lake Erie fishing during Fish for Free Days.
This year, those days are:
- Sunday, May 26, 2019
- Thursday, July 4, 2019 (Independence Day)
Fishing Contest Survival Tips
Fishing with young children can be so much fun but it’s also grounds for a good challenge. Here are some fishing contest planning and prep tips for an easier experience.
Fishing Contest Prep Work
- Check and organize your gear a few days in advance. This gives you enough time if you need to go buy new gear. Look into bait, fishing line, hooks and leads, a kid’s fishing pole or a complete fishing kit, even, a travel coffee mug to hide your wine in (wait, did I think that or write that?), a net, stringer, or other fishing equipment.
- Plan ahead for an easy breakfast. Donuts work great and some fishing derbies even provide them for the kids. Bring bananas, breakfast bars, donuts, or any other grab-and-go morning meal. Remember, the early bird gets the worm, and the early worm gets the fish!
- Choose dark, comfortable clothes and rain boots to be on the safe side. Avoid the mud and keep your clothing inconspicuous to avoid spooking the fish.
- Bring little camp chairs or a picnic blanket for your kids. Being comfortable is half the battle. I love the look of this adorable s’mores chair and would totally buy one if we didn’t have Frozen and Paw Patrol already. Make it interesting and exciting for your little ones to get into the fishing groove!
Day-of Fishing Contest Tips
- Try different kinds of bait to see what works. Power Bait is a popular choice for trout fishing. You might also consider more old school options – read: worms. Nightcrawlers and mealworms tend to be two popular choices if you can handle touching them. (Ick!) Precisely why I make my husband or dad go fishing with us! Minnows, artificial lures, and other bait may also be worth a shot.
- Keep toddlers entertained. Younger siblings may not be as enthralled with the fishing contest as their big bro or big sis. If this is the case, break out a tablet, coloring book, or a set of toys to buy some time.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray! Pack a little kit with sunscreen, hand sanitizer, wipes, tissues, bug spray, and other essentials. A mini first aid kit is probably a good idea, too.
- Check for ticks when you get home. I’ve pulled ticks off my kid and dog as early as February here in Montgomery County. Last year, I found something obscene like eight ticks in seven days.
These are the only fishing derbies I could find for 2019 in our area so far. You might also try a Google search for “fishing derby near me” or “fishing tournaments near me” or “fishing contest” + [your town or area]. If you know of others, please leave them in the comments below.