Fishing Derbies

Two silver and green fish lay in a net. A reel and rod with with a cork handle accompanies them.

Hooked on National Forests Fishing Derbies

While the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) and the Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) are in two separate states, they have one thing in common – they both offer wonderful fishing opportunities to local youth and the public at large.

Each Spring, U.S. Forest Service employees on the GMNF in Vermont work in collaboration with Trout Unlimited and the Route 100 Lion’s Club to host one youth fishing derby at Hapgood Pond and another at Kings Pond on the Manchester and Rochester / Middlebury Ranger Districts. Area youth, ages 12 and under, accompanied by an adult, are invited to join in the fun. In recent years, each of these events has drawn more than 50 participants with 183 fish being caught last year alone at the Hapgood Pond derby. Prizes have been awarded for the biggest, second biggest, longest and smallest fish…but the best prize of all is that kids and their family experience the great sport of fishing and a day outdoors on their national forest. Often Smokey Bear will also make an appearance.

This year marks the 22nd Annual Youth Fishing Derby on the FLNF in New York. Due to popularity, this derby now requires pre-registration and has a participation limit of 100 kids! The FLNF derby which is also sponsored by several local partners is open to children ages 2--12 and offers a picnic for all participants. Employees of the GMNF and FLNF work hard to maintain natural habitat for wild fish as well as fish that have been added to ponds through a fisheries stocking program.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public Land where recreational activities contribute approximately $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The Forest Service’s Eastern Region includes twenty states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. So, grab your fishing rod and spend some time not only making memories, but fishing on your National Forest – IT’S ALL YOURS!

2017 Derby Dates

Finger Lakes National Forest
Green Mountain National Forest