AP NEWS

Fishing for Fun in Fitchburg

April 15, 2019

LEOMINSTER -- With worms, neon lures, and “green stuff” tied to fishing poles and dipped in the water, the fish of Barrett Park started biting.

The warm weather favored optimistic fishers Saturday morning, and the park’s annual fishing derby sponsored by the Recreation Commission was a success.

Over 70 children and their families took part in the derby, setting up chairs and casting their lines into Barrett Park’s pond. Roland “J.R.” LaPointe Jr., a maintenance supervisor for the Recreation Department, said he was excited to see families coming together to fish.

“The derby is going really well,” he said. “I think we’ve had a great turn out so far and a lot of people have been successful.”

LaPointe said the high turnout was at least partially due to the warmer weather in town, which rose above 65 degrees by the end of the event.

“As far as I can remember, this is definitely one of the warmest days we’ve had,” said LaPointe.

Nearly three hours into the derby, more than a dozen fish had been caught, the largest being a 15-inch rainbow trout. One fisherman reached the three trout limit within 45 minutes of the derby kicking off.

Barrett Park was recently stocked by the state, which added about 850 trout to the pond in the last two weeks, said LaPointe. Though there were plenty of fish swimming beneath the pond’s surface, not everyone was finding success at the end of their lines.

“I’ve seen people with fish, but we haven’t caught any,” said Melani Dean, who attended the derby with her son Nolan. “We go every year. It’s kind of relaxing, the kids all like it, and it’s a lot of fun.”

For Morgan Cline, the derby may have been her first time fishing but that didn’t stop her from eyeing one of the prizes.

“Maybe it’s a LOL Doll, or ice cream,” she said.

The trick to catching fish, she said, was to use something “really really really tasty” on their end of the line.

Any of the fish that were caught on Saturday could be taken home, but the Recreation Commission encouraged young fishers to release their catch back into the water.