As Governor John Carney (D, Del.) lifts certain stipulations regarding outdoor activities on Tuesday, May 26, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will move ahead with their Annual Youth Fishing Tournament this year.
However, it will take place (semi) virtually.
Kids ages 4-15 will be able to cast their lines into any of the state’s approved freshwater ponds on Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The annual tournament is a great way to introduce the state’s young people to the sport of fishing, along with the catch-and-release approach to conservation.
This year, to avoid crowding at the three traditional locations, the tournament will be held at more than 30 public ponds across the state as a fish-on-your-own, semi-virtual event limited to children accompanied by their parent or guardian. Participants and sponsoring parents/guardians must maintain social distancing from others not in their family by staying six feet - which is the distance of a typical fishing pole - apart, and must have a face covering that is worn if less than a six-foot distance occurs between individuals not from their family group.
Participants are encouraged to bring and regularly use hand sanitizer.
Families must fish at one of Delaware’s 32 approved freshwater fishing ponds and report their children’s catch via the Hook’d app. All participants must bring their own fishing equipment. These impoundments, most of them managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, range in size from five to 189 acres. They support a variety of gamefish.
Sussex County has 19 approved freshwater ponds that can be used for the tournament. They are (in alphabetical order) Abbotts Pond, Blairs Pond, Chipman Pond, Concord Pond, Craigs Pond, Griffith Lake, Haven Lake, Hearns Pond, Horsey Pond, Ingram Pond, Millsboro Pond, Portsville Pond, Raccoon Pond, Records Pond, Trap Pond, Trussum Pond, Tussock Pond, Wagamons Pond, and Waples Pond. The freshwater lakes and ponds are open for fishing and other recreation.
Every registered participant will receive a prize. Trophies will be awarded to the participant who caught the longest fish in each category of species.
The tournament is sponsored by the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. It is free and open to the public. You can fish rain or shine, and - again - catch-and-release is strongly encouraged.
The tournament’s committee would like to stress the importance of integrity for this event. They ask that you please remember that the day is for and about the youth. They ask that you teach them ethical fishing. Catches submitted must be solely caught by the youth registered on this form. Registration forms must be filled out and submitted to Brooke Mitchell by Friday, May 29, at Brooke.Mitchell@Delaware.gov.
Boats must be operated at ‘No Wake’ speed on all of Delaware’s freshwater public ponds and statewide creel, minimum size limits, and seasons for freshwater species are listed in the latest issue of the Delaware Fishing Guide which is available on-line, at bait and tackle stores, and at various vendors throughout the state.