Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) is inviting youth from up and down and all across the state to participate in this weekend’s 35th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament.
The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. There is no fee to participate, and all fishing must be done from any of the freshwater sites throughout the state.
There are more than 30 public freshwater ponds and/or lakes where participants can cast their lines and try to snag themselves a winning fish. Sussex County alone has 19 spots, including: Abbotts Pond, Blairs Pond, Chipman Pond, Concord Pond, Craigs Pond, Griffith Pond, Haven Lake, Hearns Pond, Horsey Pond, Ingrams Pond, Millsboro Pond, Portsville Pond, Raccoon Pond, Records Pond, Trap Pond, Trussum Pond, Tussock Pond, Wagamons Pond and Waples Pond.
The tournament is available for young anglers ages 4 to 15, and they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. They should bring their own fishing equipment to use. There are three age-group categories for the tournament: 4 to 7, 8 to 11, and 12 to 15. Trophies for the longest fish will be given out in each age group, no matter what species is caught.
The tournament was established by the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife and is sponsored by the Delaware Natural Resources Police to introduce youth to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation, which is encouraged for all participants.
Tournament participants and accompanying adults, along with all anglers fishing during the state’s free fishing days on June 5-6, are required to follow COVID-19 outdoor health and safety guidelines in effect on the day of the tournament. Anglers and families must also follow all local rules and regulations at their chosen fishing site.
Catch measurements should be submitted using the free Chaos fishing app, which requires a photo of the fish on a Delaware fishing ruler or other ruler or tape measure with readable numbers to show the actual length of the catch. The app is downloadable via smartphone app stores by clicking “login/register” in the top right corner of the tournament webpage, and then searching tournament listings for Delaware Natural Resources Police.
As in years past, the tournament is part of the annual state observance of National Fishing & Boating Week, June 5-13, which also includes DNREC’s annual designation of free fishing days on June 5 and 6 this year, when anyone may fish in Delaware waters without a fishing license. Anglers 16 or older who don’t have a fishing license are required to get a free Fishermen Information Network (FIN) number, available at license agents statewide and online at hdnrec.delaware.gov/get-a-fin.