Annual Walter E. Carlson Memorial Fishing Derby held

  • CATCH OF THE DAY - KyleeAnn McAllistar scored the biggest catch of the day at the annual Walter E. Carlson Memorial Fishing Derby, held this past Mother’s Day at the Royalston Fish and Game Club. The final fish measured during the derby earned the grand prize title for Angler McAllistar; a hefty, 14¾-inch trout. Photo/Mary C. Barclay

  • There were many happy anglers this past Sunday at the Royalston Fish and Game Club’s annual Walter E. Carlson Memorial Fishing Derby. Official Ross LeBlanc, after measuring was complete, showed off this beauty. The angler responsible for the catch was all smiles in the background. Photo/Mary C. Barclay

  • WINNERS DETERMINED - Long-time Derby workers Ray and Luann Simula carefully went through the list of participants and their catch to determine winners of the Royalston Fish and Game Club’s annual Walter E. Carlson Fishing Derby, held this past Sunday, Mother’s Day. photo/Mary C. Barclay

  • LUNCH – Royalston Fish & Game Club President Jeff Collins turned out all the hot dogs, hamburgers, and cheeseburgers needed to feed anglers and their families at last Sunday’s annual Walter E. Carlson Memorial Fishing Derby. Thirty-four children under the age of 15 were supplied with a free hot dog meal. photo/Mary C. Barclay

  • WINNING GROUP – Thirty-four anglers under the age of 15 braved the gray skies and drizzle or rain this past Sunday, Mother’s Day, at the Royalston Fish & Game Club’s annual Walter E. Carlson Memorial Fishing Derby. The Club conducts this derby each spring in memory of long time member Walter E. Carlson, who loved the event, and until his death, was the official who measured each fish caught in the derby. Photo/Mary C. Barclay

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 5/15/2019 10:00:51 PM

The rain stopped and the skies lightened just as the “poles down” announcement was made at the Royalston Fish & Game Club’s annual Walter E. Carlson Memorial Fishing Derby. The rain, however, posed no problem for the 34 registered participants, many of whom fished from under pop-ups or decked out in homemade rain gear this past Sunday, Mother’s Day.

From 10 a.m. to noon, anglers pulled some of the 250 brook, rainbow, and brown trout supplied by Hy-on-a-Hill Trout Farm of Plainfield, N.H. Trout were guaranteed to be in the 6-to-10-inch range, but there were a few bonuses, as evidenced by the derby’s final catch.

KyleeAnn McAllistar scored the biggest catch, the final fish measured for the day, and earned the grand prize title for her hefty, 14¾-inch trout. An experienced and dedicated angler, she had already reeled in other fish, ranging in size from 7½ to 8-7/8 inches.

First place in the girls’ division was awarded to Gracelyn Stewart for her 10½-inch catch. Boys’ first place went to Colton Holloway, for a 9-5/8-inch beauty.

Second prizes were awarded to Byrson Quinlan for a 9-7/16-inch trout, and to Rebecca Adams for her 9-5/8-inch fish. Hooking the third prizes were Ryan Wright with an 8¾-inch catch, and Audrina Cormier, with her 9-1/8-inch trout.

Other derby participants in the boys’ division included Jeffrey Alisauskas, Ralle Anderson, Camdyn Belliveau, Michael Berry, Brayden Choquette, Braiden Cormier, Rhyland Grover, Kayden Lorion, Roman Lorion, Emmet Peery, Cole Plourde, Jamison Quinlan, Ryan Smith, and Zechariah Velez.

Girls’ division anglers included Melinda Adams, Lillian Berry, Catherine Brown, Lydia Draleau, Morgan Haley, Makayla Lent, Isla Maylan, Cora Miano, Madison Smith, and Charlotte Trombley.

Moms and dads and an occasional chilled angler gathered around a bonfire during the drizzly and rainy morning. The food concessions pop-up tent also had a number of visitors who stayed long after their lunches were gone. Club President Jeff Collins grilled up hot dogs, hamburgers, and cheeseburgers throughout the morning.

Luann and Ray Simula, long-time derby workers, explained this day is all about the kids, just as the late Walter E. Carlson would have wanted it. There was no charge for any child to participate — non-member children were also welcome to fish for free — and every little angler up to age 15 was provided with a free hot dog lunch. Sodas, burger, and dogs were sold for a nominal price for on-lookers and extra hungry participants.

In addition to cooking and serving food, volunteers helped with everything from pre-derby fish stocking, policing the pond area, setting up the food concession and “officials” pop-up tents and tables, tending the bonfire, then spent the afternoon cleaning up and breaking down.

Supplies for the lunch and prizes were purchased by the Club or donated by members. Prizes included little folding chairs, lots of bubble stuff, cash prizes, surprise prizes, and a wide array of fishing poles, lures and accessories. The grand prize winner was given first choice of prizes, then first, second, and third prize winners selected their prizes. Every participant was called to the table and left with a memento from the derby.

The Royalston Fish & Game Club, located on the Route 68 Phillipston/Royalston line, conducts this derby each spring in memory of long time member Walter E. Carlson, who loved the event, and until his death, was the official who measured each fish caught in the derby. His love of the sport was passed on to many during his years officiating.

The club was incorporated in 1947 and boasts a beautifully maintained facility that includes a clubhouse with a members’ room, a function hall, institutional kitchen, dining pavilion, barbecue pit, firing (rifle, pistol) and archery (standard and 3D) ranges, horseshoe pits, well-groomed ball field with back stop, and of course, the fishing pond. For information on membership, renting the facility or other open-to-the-public functions, check their Facebook page or contact the Club at 978-249-3004.


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