Ice fishing derby in Conway hooks 40 children

  • Patrice Moriarty, 11, watches her tip-up at the Conway Sportsman’s Club’s annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • A trio of trout caught at the Conway Sportsman’s Club’s annual youth ice fishing derby Saturday. Recorder Staff/ Matt Burkhartt

  • Frank Fellows holds a trout that his son Logan Fellows, 4, caught at the Conway Sportsman's Club's annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool Saturday, February 18, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Kids throw snowballs at the Conway Sportsman's Club's annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool Saturday, February 18, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Families participate in the Conway Sportsman's Club's annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool Saturday, February 18, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Dennis Millette helps Brayden Brisson, 7, pull up a trout on his line with his brother, Gunner Brisson, at the Conway Sportsman’s Club’s annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • A trio of trout caught at the Conway Sportsman's Club's annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool Saturday, February 18, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Nate Jackman his daughter Avery Jackman, 3, watch as her sister Kaylee Jackman, 5, and her cousin Reid Jackman peer into the water at the Conway Sportsman's Club's annual youth ice fishing derby at the Conway Community Swimming Pool Saturday, February 18, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 2/19/2017 11:39:55 PM

CONWAY — After pulling a shimmering brook trout from underneath the ice at the Conway Community Swimming Pool, 4-year-old Sadie Muszynski of Deerfield marveled at her catch.

For Sadie, going ice fishing with her father Josh, grandfather Ed and 6-year-old brother David was her favorite part of the day. The four attended the annual youth ice fishing derby organized by the Conway Sportsman’s Club, which was held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s a great event for the kids,” Josh Muszynski said. “This’ll be a part of our lives forever, and they’ll pass it on to their kids.”

Josh Muszynski remembers his father, Ed, bringing him to the ice fishing derby as a child, and decided to pass on the tradition to his own children, as is the case for many of the derby’s attendees, including Conway Sportsman’s Club President Jimmy Recore.

According to Recore, his father, Bob Recore, another club member, started the annual ice fishing derby in 1977. As a teenager, Jimmy Recore fished in the first derby and now his grandchildren participate.

“We love the kids,” he said, referring to the Conway Sportsman’s Club. “We do what we can for them all the time.”

Though the club plans the free derby each year for the children and grandchildren of club members and Conway residents, some families travel from across Franklin County to join in the fun. Children 14 and under can participate.

Recore said the ice fishing derby is one of many events the club organizes to encourage children to get outside, including a spring derby and youth pheasant, turkey and deer hunting classes.

“We’re not doing this for profit, obviously,” he said. “A lot of kids nowadays are growing up without an attachment to nature … We just try to get them to partake a little more in outdoor sports.”

Prior to the annual derby, the club stocks the Conway Community Swimming Pool with 200 brook trout from the Berkshire National Fish Hatchery. Participants can bring their own bait and tip-ups or use equipment the club brings, with several children receiving equipment as prizes for their fish.

Though the warm weather Saturday created slushy conditions, it also attracted approximately 40 derby participants.

“This is the high end of what we expected, so this is really good,” said club member Bruce VanIderstine.

“This year we got good ice and wonderful weather,” said Jeff Brisson of Conway, who brought his two sons, Gunner, 2, and Brayden, 7. “I think (Brayden’s) hooked (on ice fishing) after today for sure.”

Aside from fishing, the children also went sledding, built snowmen and had snowball fights.

“Fish aren’t the main reason they come,” said club member Malcolm “Bud” Ware, who brought his 7-year-old grandson Tobias Streeter. As Ware watched the fishing line, Tobias threw snowballs with his friends.

“It’s a great social event for the kids,” Ware added.

At 3 p.m., club members presented several of the boys and girls with bait buckets, tip-ups and ice augers as prizes for biggest fish, smallest fish and first to catch the limit of three fish. The winners were:

David Muszynski, boys biggest fish

Kelsi Baker, girls biggest fish

Sadie Muszynski, girls smallest fish

Cooper William Dion, boys smallest fish

Brayden Brisson, first to catch the limit of three fish.

Even those who did not participate in the ice fishing derby have a chance to catch some fish. For the next week, Conway Sportsman’s Club members and Conway residents can fish at the Conway Community Swimming Pool for free.


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