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Fort Drum community members gather May 20 at Remington Pond to participate in the 24th Youth Fishing Derby. Hosted by the Fort Drum Natural Resources Branch, attendees competed in three age categories for the most fish and longest fish caught. In all, 246 fish were reeled in during the free derby. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Fort Drum’s free Youth Fishing Derby
returns to Remington Park for 24th year

Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 22, 2023) – Good things come to those who bait, and dozens of anglers found this to be true during the free Youth Fishing Derby on May 20 at Fort Drum’s Remington Park.

In all, 246 fish were caught, as youths of all ages reeled in brook trout, largemouth bass, a few bullhead, and the occasional clump of seaweed from the water.

“This has been a pretty popular event here for the past 24 years,” said Ray Rainbolt, Fort Drum Natural Resources Branch manager. “It’s a great way to introduce children to fishing if they haven’t had the chance to before, and we try to make it a fun competition for everyone.”

Held near the Cranberry Lake Pavilion, on the other side of Remington Beach, the derby also clues community members in on the best place to fish in the cantonment area.

“You’ll have people fishing here yearround,” Rainbolt said. “When people ask me where they can take their kids fishing, I always say Remington Pond because there is a lot of fish here, and it’s a good variety. It’s kind of the prime spot for fishing on post.”

Kaydin Widrick, age 14, caught two brown bullhead in a matter of minutes, with the largest being 12.2 inches long.

“You never know what you’ll get,” Kaydin said. “You can catch the biggest fish, a tiny little sunfish or sometimes you only get weeds. Reeling in a big fish is the fun part.”

Allena Bush, 14, has been fishing ever since she could hold a reel.

“I’ve fished for most of my life,” she said. “I like the feel of catching fish – it’s exciting! Bass are the most fun to catch because they fight well.”

While she reeled in a fair share of fish during the derby, Allena said her two younger sisters were having a better day.

“We’re very competitive,” she said. “They are catching more than me today, but I like to see them win because they get excited about it.”

Allena has participated several times before in the annual derby, as well as numerous fishing tournaments where she has caught prize-winning fish.

“I like fishing at Remington Pond because you’re able to fish close to the water,” she said. “And it’s never crowded, so you can spread out. And you can catch a lot of fish, and it’s always a surprise what you’re going to pull in.”

For more information about upcoming Natural Resources events and activities, visit https://fortdrum.isportsman.net or follow www.facebook.com/FortDrumNaturalResources.