The Return of the Millbrook Children’s Fishing Derby

Photo Karen Graham. We were ready, the organizers of this popular annual event delivered and so did Mother Nature. Hundreds of anglers and spectators lined the edges of the Mill Pond on Saturday morning with aspirations of snagging a trout, ideally a large one. What a great start to the upcoming season of community celebrations for young and old.

After a five-year hiatus, the ever popular Millbrook Children’s Fishing Derby made a spectacular return last Saturday at the Millpond.

Child registrations reached 274, most of them coming from within the township but a few came from as far away as Toronto.  It was definitely worth the trip!

The event kicked off at 8 am, and the first 200 registrations received Young Anglers Licenses (provided by O.F.A.H.) along with a red FOODLAND registration bag containing a breakfast snack, juice, Activity/colouring sheets, fishing related stickers,  fishing Bobber (provided by Nexicom) and a child’s toothbrush provided by Dr Ken Lee.

In addition to the registration bags another 125 prizes were handed out, including 70 Coupons for Fish Cream Cones from Millbrook Valley Chocolates.  They have to turn in their ticket, which shows the image of the derby mascot Millie created by Bill Slavin stuffed into a cone.

The event was prepared the night before, when the owner of Kolopore Springs Fish Hatchery of Collingwood arrived with a tank on his truck loaded with 250 Brook Trout which were ceremoniously added to the pond by eager youngsters.  This species have light markings and red and blue spots on a dark background, with orange bellies, fins and tails.  Their markings explain their other name- the Speckled Trout.  This species thrives across Ontario in cold, clear streams like Baxter Creek as well as small lakes.

The fish arrived hungry, according to Bruce, who explained that it was necessary to keep their bellies empty to keep the water in which they were transported clean and clear.  This variety eat worms, leeches, aquatic insects and smaller fish, and is one of Ontario’s most esteemed game fish.  As anglers found on Saturday, it is best caught using light tackle; small baits that imitate aquatic insects such as spinners and flies work well, as do live baits including minnows and worms.

No count was kept of the number of Brook Trout caught that morning, and no one succeeded in snagging Millie.  A single large Brown Trout, which is native to the pond, was caught by a young girl.

To keep the energy up, members of the Millbrook and Bewdley Lions’ Club were on hand serving breakfast and lunch from their Food truck, and providing pastries from the Pastry Peddler.  A Silent Auction was also conducted offering prizes for adult taste including tickets to the 4th line Theatre and a large paddle from Voyageur Canoe, among other prizes.

The event organizers Trout Unlimited and the Millbrook Lions’ Club are to be commended for hosting a spectacular family event.  They would like to thank all of the many businesses and individuals who supported this event through donations and support. Mother nature also provided a perfect backdrop to the event.

As for Millie, she lives on in our imaginations and our pond to encourage anglers to keep honing their skills for another day.  For now, the score is Millie 1, Anglers 0.  There’s always next year- we’re counting on it!  KG

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