My son, Harrison, caught his first trout at the young age of 3, thanks to the folks who make the Westport Fishing Derby possible every year.
Kids around the region are afforded similar experiences around this time each year, and I can't say enough good things about the people who help make that happen.
Teach a kid to fish and you are giving them a healthy life skill they will take with them always. Many kids would never get the opportunity to participate in this worthwhile outdoor pursuit if it were not for these derbies and the people who organize them.
The workers at the county-operated fish hatcheries in Warren and Essex counties are a huge part of making this happen.
I want to personally thank these people for what they do, as well as our county leaders for recognizing the importance of funding these facilities.
Unfortunately, however, Warren County supervisors are considering axing the $100,000 it takes to operate their county trout hatchery - a casualty of their multi-million dollar budget deficit.
Supervisors were to vote on the move at their June 10 meeting, but set the decision aside in order to find out if the state might consider running it.
But, the state has said it most likely would not raise trout there, meaning the 25,000 trout and salmon raised at the facility would no longer hit local waters.
That, quite simply, is a shame.
Put aside the fact the $100,000 comes back tenfold in the revenue spent by fisherman visiting the region because of its astounding trout fishing.
Put aside the fact many county taxpayers are also anglers and the premier stocking done by these hatcheries gives a tangible return.
Set those considerations aside for a moment, and consider the impact the hatcheries have on the lives of our children.
Like its Essex County counterpart, the Warren County hatchery stocks for kids fishing derbies in a number of local communities, and stocks places like Hovey Pond as well as other popular roadside destinations for young anglers.
Aren't the smiles on the faces of these youngsters worth the $100,000 investment?
My own son still has the glass fish he was awarded for the trout he caught years ago. He cherishes it, as he does the memory of catching his first fish.
I ask you, should we take that memory away from future generations?
Supervisors: Find somewhere else to make up your budget shortfall.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ti fishing tourney
Speaking of fishing derbies, the Ti Elks youth fishing tournament was held under sunny skies June 6 and was a resounding success.
Get hooked on fishing, not on drugs! is the motto of the Ticonderoga Elks Lodge 1494 Take a Kid Fishing program. The tournament is a catch and release event where all fish are measured for judging and them safely released. Drug Awareness, Good Sportsmanship, Water Safety and Conservation are important aspects of this tourney. Complimentary hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and snacks were served until noon.
Norman St. Pierre from Norm's Bait Shop handed out the prizes.
The winners are named below.