LYONS, NY – The 22nd annual Wayne County Youth Derby wrapped up with the McDonald's awards ceremony held outside at the Sodus Point fire hall. The Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District (WCSWCD) and the Wayne County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs manage the annual event. Ken Miller, Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, assisted with the awards. Anglers fished in three separate tournaments in one derby, and received prizes and awards for places one - sixth.
As water quality improves in Wayne County, so do fishing opportunities. Fish are an excellent indicator of long-term effects and broad habitat conditions. For 2020, there were over 122 fish registered with the largest caught by Isabella Vuittonet, age 6, fishing the Erie Canal.
Fishing is also a wholesome outdoor activity that many families can enjoy while building lasting memories. “For me, it was exciting to see so many young female anglers win awards,” said Maxine Appleby of the local Soil & Water Conservation District, a former fishing charter captain herself. “I was introduced to fishing by my grandfather when I was five or six years old and still remember my first fish.”
There was a three-way tie in the Al Shultz Memorial Challenge (ages 4-7). Isabella Vuittonet, age 6, tied for first place with Natalie Thomas, age 6 and Logan Smith, age 5. The Memorial Challenge is named for Al Shultz, a dedicated fisherman who passed away in 2012. Shultz gave countless hours to enrich youngsters in outdoor sports. "His unselfish dedication and professionalism have positively impacted hundreds of youngsters and given them memories for a lifetime," said Federation President Gene Vandeusen as he announced the award winners. Donated tackle boxes were also awarded to Thomas Perrin, Joe Barnes, Andrew Patchett, Tobin Thomas and Payton Williamson for their participation.
Noah Wazinski, age 14 won the Merchant’s Challenge for the second year in a row. Noah successfully caught all five species—Perch, Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike & Smallmouth Bass—for the grand prize.
In the Species Challenge, the largest fish in any division is the determination of award; prizes and awards were given to first place thru sixth place. The first-place winners were: Issiah Jarvis of Wolcott, 4.lb 6 oz. Largemouth Bass; Scott Barnes of North Rose, 3lb 11oz. Smallmouth Bass; Isabella Vuittonet of Victor, 6lb Northern Pike caught on the Erie Canal, Daisy Barnes, of North Rose for a 15oz Perch and Noah Wazinski, of Wolcott with a 3lb Walleye.
Tripp Knapp, age 4 received the ‘Captain Larry’ award for the youngest angler. The award is named for Larry LaForce who passed away unexpectedly in 2018. Larry was an avid angler and a dedicated volunteer at the annual event.
Madison Knapp was surprised with the “ugliest fish” award for her 3.5lb bowfin. The bowfin is the sole living survivor of a group of fish whose fossil representatives date back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Bowfin are bimodal breathers which means they have the capacity to breathe both water and air which make them an excellent indicator of environmental quality.
Organizers wish to say Thank you to the donors, without whose support the tournament could not happen. Here is a list of donors for this year’s event:
Nancy Wilkes and McDonald’s of Wayne County, Paton’s Sodus Market, PJ Unisex Salon, Lyons National Bank, Sodus Rotary, Katlynn Marine, Rubinos on the Bay, Sodus Point Pit Stop, Martin’s Tideside Marine, Ashley Insurance, Lyons Veterinary Clinic, Clingerman Taxidermy, Dynalec Corporation, Fishin Magician Charters, Humbert Farms, KC Baily Orchards, Farm Bureau of Wayne County, Dobbin’s Drugs, Ely & Leene Insurance, Hughes Marina, Joey’s Northside Grocery, Fowler’s Marina, Key’s Energy, Krenzer Marine, the Steger Haus, Termatec Molding, Davenport’s Bait and Livery, Bay Bridge Bait, Palmyra Country Max, Ontario Country Max, Wayne County Tourism, Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District, Wayne County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs and Sodus Bay Sportsman Club.
A complete list of award winners can be viewed at https://waynecountynysoilandwater.org/youth-derby-leaderboard