Families are being invited to bring their kids out to try casting a line for a big fish in freshwater public ponds throughout the state when the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control holds its 35th annual Youth Fishing Tournament (https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/events/2021-semi-virtual-youth-fishing-tournament/) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 5. The tournament is free of charge and will be held rain or shine.
This year, the tournament will be held at more than 30 public freshwater fishing ponds as a fish-on-your-own, semi-virtual event for children ages 4 to 15. Participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and should bring their own fishing equipment.
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.
All preregistered participants will receive prizes. Prizes for the longest fish in each species category will be awarded in three age groups: 4 to 7, 8 to 11, and 12 to 15. Trophies will be awarded to participants who catch the longest fish in each age group, regardless of species.
To participate for prizes, young anglers must fish at one of the tournament’s designated freshwater fishing ponds (https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/fishing-ponds/), and parents or guardians must submit a registration form (https://documents.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries/2021-Virtual-Youth-Fishing-Tournament-Registration-Form.pdf) by noon, Tuesday, June 1.
Catch measurements should be submitted using the free Chaos fishing app, by including a photo of the fish on a Delaware fishing ruler or other ruler or tape measure with readable numbers to show the length of the catch. The app is downloadable by clicking login/register in the top right corner of the tournament web page and searching tournaments for Delaware Natural Resources Police. Creating an account on the app in advance of the tournament day is recommended, with more app user information available on YouTube.
The tournament is part of Delaware’s observance of National Fishing & Boating Week, June 5 to 13, which also includes DNREC’s annual designation of free fishing days for June 5 and 6 this year, when anyone may fish in Delaware waters without a fishing license. Anglers 16 or older fishing without a fishing license during the free fishing days require a free Fishermen Information Network (FIN) number, available at license agents statewide and online at hdnrec.delaware.gov/get-a-fin. For more fishing information, visit the 2021 Delaware Fishing Guide online.
Tournament participants and accompanying adults, along with anglers on free fishing days, are required to follow COVID-19 outdoor health and safety guidelines in effect the day of the tournament. Anglers and families must also follow all local rules and regulations at their chosen fishing site.