Fishing Derby at Mill Pond Scheduled for Saturday Morning


New Canaan’s young anglers will descend on Mill Pond Saturday morning for one of the town’s most cherished community traditions—the annual fishing derby.

Here’s a ca. 1950s postcard of Lake Wampanaw—known today as Mill Pond, where New Canaanites descend each spring for the Fishing Derby. Here’s the note on this postcard: “This is one of the many lovely spots where many a lovely hour is spent.” Credit: eBay

Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. for the popular event—a competition for special prizes—and fishing will start at 9 a.m. The fishing derby is open to kids 15 and younger, and 10-and-unders must be accompanied by an adult.

“Personally, it is one of my favorite events because it seems to attract a lot of New Canaan families,” said Tucker Murphy, president of the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan.

“It’s a lot of people that we don’t see on a regular basis that come out for it, and I love that. I love to see these kids with all of their little lines, all ready to go, we are so grateful to all of our sponsors. At 9 a.m. they’ll drop the lines in. We have tons of prizes to give away. It’s a great public-private partnership.”

Sponsors include Joe’s Pizza, Walter Stewart’s Market, Baskin Robbins, Cherry Street East, Wave, Candy Nichols, Vineyard Vines (whose signature whale will make an appearance), New Canaan Toy Store, Groove and TD Bank, as well as the town of New Canaan, Fire and Police Departments, Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce volunteers.

Called the George Cogswell Memorial Fishing Derby’ after a former New Canaan Police officer, the event will see budding sportsmen stand at the water’s edge of Mill Pond, stocked with hundreds of pounds of rainbow trout, and compete in several categories, such the first boy and first girl to catch a fish and the largest fish caught.

Those who excel will be rewarded with an interview with avid fisherman and New Canaanite Bill Walbert, who will operate the PA at the derby.

“I can say, arguably, that the best thing about being Town Council chairman is I get to do the voice on the fishing derby,” Walbert said with a laugh. “Interviewing the kids after they catch a fish and asking the what bait they used and stuff, it absolutely brings joy. There are very few things as cool as teaching little kids how to fish and when they do catch, seeing their faces and hearing them talk about their tactics for bringing in the big one.”

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