By PETE FONTAINE
It’s a storied family and fun-filled tradition that’s back after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
As a recent Tri-City Elks bulletin began: “The Trout Derby is back!”
So this Saturday – April 16 – the banks of Lodge 14’s picturesque and famed Golden Pond that’s located on Rossi Drive will be lined with proud parents whose children will participate in Tri-City’s Rite of Spring in hopes of reeling in the largest fish and winning a prize.
Enter Thomas Giddings, owner of the Tacklebox located off West Short Road in the Conimicut section of Warwick, who has donated two fishing poles that will go to the angler who catches the largest fish in one of two age categories.
Thus, Lodge 14 officials announced that the Trout Derby – which will be held rain or shine and is open to any and all youth anglers free of charge – will feature one division for boys and girls ages 5-to-8 and another for kids ages 9-to-12. All anglers must have their own fishing pole and bait and fishing will begin at 7 a.m. and wind up around 11 o’clock.
“This is no ordinary Trout Derby,” a Lodge 14 volunteer emphasized. “It’s yet another example of the Tri-City Elks ongoing support of our youth, as every child that enters will receive a trophy so we’re asking parents to sign-up their children by Friday, April 15.”
As yet another example of Tri-City’s unmatched hospitality which includes hosting yearly soccer and basketball competitions, the 2022 Trout Derby will begin with a light breakfast consisting of hot chocolate, coffee and donuts.
Even after fishing participants will be treated to lunch – hot dogs, chips and soda – cooked by two of Lodge 14’s Past Exalted Rulers Lori Eaton and Robert Harington.
Saturday’s Trout Derby will also have a new look this year, as veteran weigh master Griff Williams, Tri-City’s popular “Mr. Trout” in recent years – has retired.
“He was a fixture for years,” someone suggested about Williams whose chant was always “F-I-S-H” whenever a boy or girl hooked onto a trout and he’d scoot off to weigh that fish.”
This time around, David Brown and Merrick Leach will tackle the fin-filled chore of determining the largest fish. They’ll do so not by weight, but instead by measuring the length of each trout.
The four-hour event will be highlighted – in part – by an awards and trophy presentation ceremony inside Lodge 14’s spacious downstairs all-purpose room.
There is no entry fee – whatsoever – and the Trout Derby is open to children 5 to 12 years old who must bring their own fishing pole and of course bait.
“Everything is in place,” a Lodge 14 official noted. “As noted it’s rain or shine and hopefully it won’t 2019 that featured inclement weather and kept the day’s catches down to only 11 trout that this week was stocked in Golden Pond by the Rode Island Department of Environmental Management that stocks all fresh waterways throughout the state for the annual trout fishing season.
The Trout Derby is also supported by the Rhode Island Fish & Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. As noted, there’s no entry fee and there will be plenty parking in Lodge 14’s two spacious lots.
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