Peterborough firefighters continue fishing derby tradition

Peterborough Fire Department Lt. Cody Boutwell, left, after the  2022 fishing derby. The trophy is the Don Rodenhiser Trophy, given to the winner every year.

Peterborough Fire Department Lt. Cody Boutwell, left, after the  2022 fishing derby. The trophy is the Don Rodenhiser Trophy, given to the winner every year. COURTESY PHOTO

Young anglers take part in the 2022 Loran Hanson Memorial Fishing Derby.

Young anglers take part in the 2022 Loran Hanson Memorial Fishing Derby. COURTESY PHOTO

By BILL FONDA

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-18-2024 8:31 AM

Cody Boutwell remembers taking part in the Loran Hanson Memorial Fishing Derby when he was 13 and 14 years old.

Now, as a lieutenant with Peterborough Fire & Rescue, Boutwell is one of the people responsible for keeping the derby going, as the Peterborough Fire & Rescue Association has taken on the lead role in organizing the event, with help from the Peterborough Recreation Department. This year’s 34th annual derby is Saturday, April 20, from 8 a.m. to noon at Otter Brook at Gulf Road.

The derby is for youths 15 and under, and Boutwell said 65 took part last year.

“I’m hoping we’re going to have a record number of kids this year,” he said.

According to Boutwell, former Deputy Chief Keith Rodenhiser started the derby, and the Recreation Department had been helping the Rodenhiser family run it until the association took over this year.

“We figured that was a great way to keep the initiative going,” he said.

Part of the job organizing the derby is arranging for the fish – 150 donated from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Nashua National Fish Hatchery, 150 donated from New Hampshire Fish and Game and 150 that the association purchases from Sumner Brook Fish Farm in Ossipee. The association also raised the money for prizes, which consist of full fishing sets that include pole, tackle box, bobbers and line.

“We pull a prize every half-hour, starting at 8:30,” Boutwell said.

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Roy’s Market donated hot dogs and hamburgers, the proceeds of which will be used toward next year’s derby.

“This whole derby is 100% donation-run,” Boutwell said.

Boutwell has been involved in the derby for the past five or six years, and his duties were largely the same as they are now: organizing the fish order, getting prizes and donations and weighing and measuring all the fish during the derby. The big addition, he said, is organizing and recording donations and making sure as many fire personnel as possible are involved in the derby.

Boutwell said planning usually starts around Jan. 1.

“There’s about seven or eight of us that put in a fair amount of time to make this happen,” he said.

The derby is free, and registration starts around 7:15 a.m. Saturday. Participants only need to provide their name and age, and Boutwell said the derby will take place rain or shine.

“It looks like it’s going to be really nice out,” he said.

Fishing derby rules

-- Adults must stay with children under 12 for the entire event, but the children must do the actual fishing.

-- Each child may only catch and keep three fish.

-- No one older than 15 is allowed to fish in the derby.

-- Only one rod per child.

-- Fishing is from the shore or road only. No boats, canoes or waders are allowed.

-- Fish must be checked in as soon as they are caught.

-- Adults may help with the casting and the netting of the fish.

-- Fish may be caught with flies, worms and artificial lures or salmon eggs.

-- Fish must be caught by legal means only. Snagging, culling or netting the fish is not allowed.

-- Do not leave trash or fish remains on or around the water.

-- Participants should release the fish immediately after checking them in if they do not plan to eat them.