Fishing derby draws more than 200 kids to Kiwanis Lake

Christopher Dornblaser

The early morning rain wasn't keeping families from enjoying a fishing derby at Kiwanis Lake on Saturday. The event kicked off the first day of the trout fishing season.

Around 200 local kids between ages 1 and 15 competed in this year's 17th Annual William Shaffer Trout Fishing Derby.

The derby: Tom Landis, York City's superintendent of recreation and parks, said each year the derby typically brings out around 250 kids, but this year fewer attended because of some early-morning rain.

"The weather definitely had an impact on our crowd," he said. Landis called the smaller crowd the "perfect size" as it didn't cause any space issues for the kids fishing and organizers had enough free food and drink for all.

Between 8 a.m. and noon, kids were given the chance to catch the biggest trout.

Nine awards were given out during the event. They were broken into three groups each, with three awards going to biggest trout caught by kids ages 1-8, three awards going to biggest trout caught by kids age 9-15 and three awards going to biggest non-trout fish caught.

Winners received fishing rods and coupons and gift certificates from sponsors such as Rita's, Suburban Bowlerama and Papa John's.

Fishing: Plenty of families were out Saturday morning, circling the lake with fishing rods and folding chairs — enjoying the derby.

Brenda Miller, of West York, was watching her great-grandson Hayden Redding, 8, try to catch a fish. In the hour they had been there, Hayden had not had any luck catching anything.

"Two fish ate my bait!" he said.

Miller said they were using "power bait," but Hayden wasn't seeing the results.

"That ain't working," Hayden said.

"I'm trying to teach him patience," Miller said.

Similarly, Yolanda Farley, of Camp Hill, wasn't having much luck with her daughter Aurora, 6, who seemed to be having trouble.

"I'm trying to teach her, it's patience," she said.

Farley was there with her son Donovan, 7, as well. It was Donovan and Aurora's first time at the derby.

"My 7-year-old didn't want to come," she said. "But now he's loving it."

She said during the time since they had gotten there, around 10:15, Donovan had learned to cast his fishing line.

"He's proud he can cast," she said.

Bill Gnadinger drove all the way from New Jersey to attend the derby with his grandson, Kevin Ahr, 9, of Red Lion. Gnadinger said Kevin has been coming to the derby for about six years. They had been there since 8:15, and more than three hours later they had yet to catch a fish.

"Whether he catches or he doesn't, he has fun," Gnadinger said.

Right before the event ended, Gnadinger said Kevin managed to catch a small sunny.

"It only took us four hours to catch a 2-inch sunny," he said.

The trophies: At the conclusion of the event, nine lucky kids were given trophies and prizes for their fishing efforts. Landis said they even gave out medals to those who they knew had reached the limit of five trout.

One of the trophy winners was Brooke Lightcap, 3, who managed to catch a 10-inch rainbow trout. Her dad, Kyle Lightcap, was happy that she won the award in her first time competing at the derby.

"We had a blast," he said.

Landis noted that the sponsors really helped out this year, giving away some good prizes to the kids.

"The prizes that these kids walked away with today are pretty decent," he said.

Landis was happy kids got to come out and enjoy fishing in the derby.

"We had kids today that are 3 years old, catching their first fish ever," he said. "This is why you do it."

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at