Father’s Day fishing derby is a multi- generational tradition

Jason Colby watches his daughters Addy, 7, and Emii, 5, fish during the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club’s Father’s Day Fishing Derby on Lake Colby. (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

SARANAC LAKE — A sunny Father’s Day brought children out with their fathers, grandfathers and caregivers to the annual Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club’s Father’s Day Fishing Derby.

According to Club President Jim Jones, the event has been hosted annually for over 30 years. He mentions that some people who show up for the derby were brought there by their fathers and are now sharing a similar experience with their own children.

Some families took to special fishing spots along the Lake Colby shoreline, while other people utilized the dock or private boats. For Saranac Lake third-grader Lilly Latham, this was the first time that she had ever cast a line.

“My poppy is helping me,” said 8-year-old Lilly. “We don’t keep the fish. We need to let them go back into the water and be free. We also don’t want to keep all the fish so that other kids can’t catch them.”

Her grandfather, Bill Latham, nods while she talks. They haven’t been fishing very long and she had already caught her second rock bass. The event was open to all children ages 16 and under, who do not require a fishing license.

Chris Neill grew up participating in the Father’s Day Fishing Derby and now shares the event with his daughters Etta, 3, and Gwen, 1. (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

Jason Colby was on the dock with his two daughters, Addy, 7, and Emii, 5. According to her father, Addy could fish all day. She cast out her line and reeled in fish after fish. She proudly showed off her catch, giving each one a kiss goodbye and sending them back into the water. Emii seemed to decide that the nearby beach holds more interest. Colby admitted that neither of his daughters was there for the competition. They just wanted to have fun.

The Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club provides the free fishing derby as a way for families to recreate together.

“Fishing is one of those sports that people of all ages, levels and capabilities can participate in,” club Treasurer Theresa Trudell said. “You can fish by yourself or you can do it with your family. Toddlers can be helped by their grandfathers. An older child can learn to be independent and go out by him or herself and catch a beautiful fish. We just want families and kids to learn more about the sport. It doesn’t matter if you don’t catch a fish. As long as you try, you are successful.”

Winners were awarded in the top two places in each of the three categories. A free barbecue and beverages were provided to all competitors and their families at the conclusion of the event.

Derby winners


1st place: Jackson Daunais, 7

2nd place: Lexee Beane, 11


1st place: Lilly Latham, 8

2nd place: Rayce Clark, 13

Punkin Seed, Rock Bass, Sunfish

1st place: Anastasia Lacey, 6

2nd place: Lucas Stevens, 6