More than 100 youngsters reel in catches at Pittsfield fishing derby

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Photo Gallery | Kids fishing derby at Wild Acres

PITTSFIELD — Catching trout, bullhead, perch and bass proved a fun morning exercise for more than 100 area youths who attended an annual fishing derby co-organized by Pittsfield Municipal Airport and Onota Fishing Club on Saturday at Wild Acres pond.

The day's winning fish proved to be two 13-inch trout caught by Rob Houghtlin, 13, and Casey Kendall, 8. Dozens of fish were pulled out of the pond, housed on airport property.

"One little girl [with a developmental disability] caught her first fish and her mother was going crazy," Rick Pierce, a new member of the club, said. "It was touching."

Saturday was the fifth time the event had gone off, drawing a crowd equal to or greater than previous years.

Attendees range from seasoned young male and female anglers, to complete novices, who benefit from the assistance of Onota Fishing Club volunteers.

"We help out the kids so they learn how to bait their hook and set it when the fish bite," Edward Blake, president of Onota Fishing Club, said.

Blake said the airport, run by Lyon Aviation, has approached them every year since the inaugural event, and it always proves a success.

"They've worked with us and we've worked with them and it's been fantastic," Blake said.

Conditions were cool with a slight drizzle on Saturday — good fishing weather.

The young anglers also benefited from a recent stocking of the pond by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. Last week, DCR dropped more than 300 fish in the pond.

"It's nice to see kids get away from the computers and outside and doing something together as a family," Pierce said. "Seeing the family connection was the best part."

The airport also assisted disabled children or parents across the runways and to the pond.

Dave's Sporting Goods donated all the bait used at Saturday's derby. More than 30 trophies were given out in the end.

Next Sunday, Onota Fishing Club will host another fishing derby from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Onota Lake, followed by a fish fry.

Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.


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