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Sue LeBar | Democrat

Alex Bastone, front, and Anthony Borella hold the fish they caught at Saturday’s event. Joining them are, from left to right, volunteers Carl Lindsley, Josephine Bastone, Laurel Lindsley and Lorilei Reynolds.

Nearly 100 kids enjoy ice fishing derby

By Sue LeBar
TUSTEN— February 4, 2011 — Crystal Lake was the setting last Saturday for the annual Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs of Sullivan County Youth Fishing Derby, which hosted 90 children ranging in age from 2 to 15 with their parents or guardians.
Everyone received a prize and the kids who caught the biggest fish in several categories also received a special prize.
The event held began as a kind of optical illusion noted co-organizer Kay Danchak.
“When we got here this morning there was a fog on the lake, no wind just a fog, and as we watched the fog lift you began to see feet and then bodies of everyone who made it out on the lake,” Danchak said. “There was even a bald eagle perched out watching. I have to say that is one of the most beautiful beginnings to our annual Kids’ Fishing day in a long time.”
For several years, the Federation has hosted the annual Youth Fishing Derby on Crystal Lake with the assistance of the Boy Scouts of America, which owns and operates the property where Crystal Lake is located.
“This event would not even be possible without the kindness of the Boy Scouts,” Danchak said. “Every year they open the camp so that we can hold the ice fishing event and we even have many of their workers here helping us out today as volunteers. It is just wonderful.”
Danchak noted that there is a lot of work which comes with the event and that work gets done with the help of many volunteers. 
“We have the fisheries that work with us on the fish, the New York State DEC, New Paltz office, the Federation and all its volunteers, Tom’s Bait Shop and so many others that donate from the bait to the prizes to the food,” Danchak said. “This event is clearly a community assisted event and we thank everyone involved. With this kindness we provide food and snacks to everyone here today and we also make sure that everyone leaves here with a prize, It is a great event.”
Another familiar face at the event is Carl Lindsley, who has been with the event since it started.
“This event is close and dear to my heart, and every year it gets better and better, and I think this year is the best ever,” Lindsley said. “The fog lifting off the lake this morning was beautiful, the eagle, no winds and sun it was just breathtaking. I truly love this event because it gets the kids outside and enjoying nature. They are not sitting in front of the television or a game unit, they are outside just getting into nature, the surroundings and the experience of fishing and being with their parents or guardians. That is what makes this day such a great day.
“We have kids out here that have never ice fished and then we have kids that look forward to it every year and keep coming back for more; it is just great,” Lindsley added.
He went on to note that something very different and special was involved with the 2011 event.
“This year, with a lot of leg work and the assistance of the New York State DEC, we are able to let the kids who catch a bass today actually keep it and this was done with a special permit from the DEC,” Lindsley commented. “The reason in the past kids could not keep the fish is because it is not bass season and we had to put them back, but with this special permit the kids can keep the fish. But before they leave, the kids’ fish have to be tagged with a special tag and as the fish are being weighed those tags are placed right on the fin.
“We are so glad that we can do this for the kids this year and there have been some pretty nice bass caught here today. The other fish the kids catch, from the sunfish to the pickerel, they keep them and take them home so it is a great day out on the ice.”
Rachel Lindsley brought her girlfriend and her two children who had never ice fished to the derby. And those youngsters had a ball.
“When the fishing event comes around, I always look forward to it and it is great to be out here,” Rachel Lindsley said. “Today I brought my girlfriend and her kids and they are catching fish and to see their eyes light up when they catch a fish is worth it all. The weather today is fantastic and you couldn’t ask for anything better. They have food here and the people are so nice and just to get the kids outside and in nature it is just great.”
Thirteen-year-old Anthony Borella was one of the kids making his first trip to the annual event.
“This is my first time here and I have caught a lot of fish,” Borella said. “My first fish was tough to get out of the lake and it gave me a battle, but I got it out of the lake. And I had a lot of fun and once I caught the first fish, then another and another and it has been a lot of fun. Besides catching the fish, the other thing that is good is the hot dogs – they are the best.”
Also having a great day was 9-year-old Corrine Hellerer.
“I am having a lot of fun and I have come here every year with my dad and I like it,” she said. “I caught a huge fish today and it was a big fish and it was a fight to get the fish, but I did it and he is a huge fish.”
Note: Please see more coverage of the event in the Sportsman’s Outdoors column elsewhere in today’s issue.

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