Kids try to land a whopper in Scotia ice fishing tournament

Eleven-year-old Emily Ritter of Niskayuna was happy with her catch of an 18-inch-long pickerel on


Eleven-year-old Emily Ritter of Niskayuna was happy with her catch of an 18-inch-long pickerel on Sunday.

“She hooked him good,” said her father, Bob Ritter.

Jim Pierce and his 10-year-old daughter Ashley Sophia of Scotia were also successful on the ice, catching a 15-inch northern pike. Ashley said she likes “catching the fish and having fun with friends.”

Pierce said it is an enjoyable experience. “It’s a good way to get the kids outdoors and have some of them try something different,” he said.

Emily and Ashley Sophia were the top winners in the second annual catch-and-release ice fishing derby, which was sponsored by the Schenectady County Conservation Council. A field of 30 children faced the frigid wind on Collins Lake.

This year, the Scotia Park Board built a festival around the tournament from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. offering ice skating, horse-drawn carriage rides, a bonfire, storytelling at the Scotia Public Library and a chili cook-off among some of the local restaurants.

Participants used two methods to catch the fish — the traditional rod and reel or tip-ups.

Mike Miller of Colonie was showing 7-year-old Frank Lotano of Glenville the proper technique. First, he put a small lure on the end of the line and then he bobbed the fishing line up and down.

“You keep it moving. They’ll get attracted to the shine,” he said. “There’s a little bait on it.”

Seven-year-old Kaleb and five-year-old Kayden were disappointed that they hadn’t caught any fish.

“I don’t like fishing because I get cold,” Kayden said.

However, their 11-year-old sister Karissa was not giving up just yet. “I’ve been standing here and lightly picking the stick up and down.”

Adult Pat Aragosa of Scotia was trying a high-tech approach, using a device called Vexilar, which shows the depth of the water and uses sonar to detect where the fish are. Those that are coming into the sonar “cone” under the water show up as red, orange or green on the device — with red being the closest.

“This is an adult video game,” Aragosa joked.

Mayor Kris Kastberg said the lack of snow forced the cancellation of cross-country skiing and snowshoe demonstrations. He said he is happy with the success of the event. “I’m impressed, especially with the windy weather.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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