Fun for Branford Kids: Free Fishing Derby at Chet's Pond May 15
The derby, co-hosted by Branford Parks and Recreation and Branford Elks Lodge #1939, is planned to take place May 15 at 2-acre Chet's Pond on the Town's Tabor property alongside the Shoreline Greenway Trail (SGT). Last year, the pond was stocked with over 250 rainbow trout (see next photo). (File photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Last spring, Todd Bobowick of Rowledge Pond Aquaculture (Sandy Hook) helped the Town stock Chet's Pond with 255 premium quality rainbow trout. (File photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Branford kids can catch some fun in the fresh air at the free Kids Fishing Derby hosted by Branford Parks and Recreation and Branford Elks Lodge #1939 on Saturday, May 15. Registration is open now at branfordct.myrec.com or by calling (203) 488-8304 to join in the fun. The derby is planned to take place at 2-acre Chet's Pond on the Town's Tabor property alongside the Shoreline Greenway Trail (SGT).
The old-fashioned fishing derby will provide prizes for the biggest trout, first boy and first girl to catch a fish and the most fish caught. The event is open to ages 15 and under, with adult accompaniment required for those 10 and under. Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. at the site on May 15, with hooks in the water from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Youthful anglers will need to bring their own fishing pole, bait, bucket and chair/portable seating.
Last spring, over 250 wriggling rainbow trout splashed down in spring-fed Chet's Pond, as the Town stocked the newly groomed scenic site with 255 fish of 10" to 12" each, as permitted by the CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The premium quality rainbow trout were stocked by Todd Bobowick of Rowledge Pond Aquaculture (Sandy Hook), the oldest private trout hatchery in the state. At that time, the trout were already above regulation size for catching, and will be lurking in deepest parts of the pond, said Bobowick. The fish will need to be restocked about every other year, said Bobowick.
The plentiful supply of rainbow trout was added to Chet's Pond last year as a way to encourage safe distance recreation during the pandemic, said Branford Parks and Recreation Director Alex Palluzzi Jr. Since last year, the pond has become a centerpiece of the SGT segment running through the Tabor property, thanks to work by Branford Dept. of Public Works members who cleared invasive growth and added passive recreation components at the water, including a new wildflower meadow at one end, and three wooden benches overlooking the pond at different points. Handicapped-accessible SGT winds past the pond and continues into the Tabor property, where DPW also planted some new shade trees last year.
Chet's Pond can be accessed from the Pine Orchard Road entrance to the SGT (next to Shoreline Pet Lodge, 157 Pine Orchard Road). The pond is located just a short walk in from the parking area at the trail head. Parking is limited and all social distancing rules must be obeyed. The trail and pond are open from dawn to dusk. Freshwater anglers age 16 and over need to have a current inland fishing license, which can be secured through CT DEEP by clicking here.
The Tabor property segment of the SGT is also accessible from the trail head and parking area on Tabor Road.