Naples Rainbow Trout Derby

A Naples Rainbow Trout Derby participant fly-fishes the “Big Digger” in Naples Creek.

It’s never too early to think about fishing the Finger Lakes tributaries. April 1 is a ritual among fly and spinning anglers who love to catch trout. Naples Creek is loaded with rainbows that come from Canandaigua Lake, and opening day is a special time in Naples.

If you have been organizing a popular fishing derby for 59 years you must be doing something right. Once again, the Naples Rotary Club has put their beautiful village on the map with their iconic Naples Creek Rainbow Trout Derby.

The entire village turns out for the annual contest. I would venture to say it’s just as popular as the grapes.

Opening-day trout fishing doesn’t excite anglers fishing Lake Ontario tributaries because the season never closes. However, the other streams in New York see plenty of action on April 1.

If you want to catch native, spring-run trout and contribute to the Naples Rotary fundraiser take a short drive south and cast in the Naples Creek.

The details:

Registration Sites

Sutton Company, 120 South Main St., Naples, during business hours.

Derby headquarters, Naples Fire Hall, Vine Street, 5-9 p.m. March 31 and 4 a.m. until sunrise April 1.

Pre-registration is required.

Entry Fees

$8 Ages 16-64

$5 for all others

Weigh/Measuring Station

Derby headquarters, Naples Fire Hall, Vine Street, Naples


No cash; trophies and merchandise only.


Grand-prize trophy for largest rainbow, sponsored by Mitchell Joseph Insurance.

Gift basket for largest rainbow entered by a female angler, sponsored by Naples Creek Apartments.

Trophies for men’s, woman’s, under-16 boys, under-16 girls and 65-and-older.

Trophies sponsored by the Linehan family for any child entering a legal fish.

Jim Grove Memorial Award for largest male rainbow entered by angler with a Naples mailing address.

Merton Woodard Memorial Award for largest female rainbow entered by angler with a Naples mailing address.

In the Catch and Release Division, there will be trophies for longest fish overall, longest fish caught by a female angler and longest fish caught by an angler 15 or younger.

All contestants entering a fish, either conventionally or in catch-and-release, will receive a bottle of wine if 21 or older or grape juice, plus a door prize donated by Naples-area merchants.

Catch and Release Rules

All NYS DEC fishing regulations shall apply.

The angler must be registered in the derby. Registration ends at sunrise on April 1.

The derby ends at 5 p.m. April 1.

Fish must be legally caught in Naples Creek or its tributaries.

Only rainbow trout are eligible to be entered in the derby.

Each fish may only be entered once.

The angler who caught the fish must take a picture of the fish alongside a standard measuring device such as a tape measure or yard stick. The length of the fish must be clearly visible in the photograph.

Photographs are to be taken on a digital camera or camera phone. Digital images that fail to clearly show the length of the fish with the measuring device will be disallowed.

The angler who caught the fish must also have a picture of them holding the fish with the angler’s face clearly visible. This photo does not need to have the measuring device shown.

The fish is to be immediately released in a manner that will not harm the fish.

The angler is report their “Catch and Release” entry to the derby co-chairman, Gary Smolinsky, at (315) 277-1136 immediately after releasing the fish. The purpose of this is to keep a current list of the leaders of each category.

The angler must provide digital images of the catch to the derby staff at the derby headquarters (Naples Fire House) in order to be given a bottle of wine or juice, be eligible for a door prize, and be considered for the “Catch and Release” award categories. Digital images may be sent via text message to the derby chairman at the number above.

An angler may enter multiple “Catch and Release” fish provided that they have released previously caught fish. Only one bottle of wine or juice, door prize, and “Catch and Release” award will be awarded per angler.

A fish may not be entered for both “Catch and Release” and standard categories.

In the event of a tie for longest fish, the first fish entered will be declared the winner.

The derby committee may amend the rules at any time. All decisions by the derby committee are final.

The derby committee may disqualify any person or persons who falsify information, violate the derby rules, or act in an unsportsmanlike manner.

All proceeds support the Naples Rotary Club’s community service projects.

Rainbow trout sampling dates

Spring can’t be far away when the New York State Department of Conservation travels to Finger Lakes streams with electrical rods to give trout a little shock. However, DEC is not giving the fish volts to encourage them to bite you’re egg sacs; rather, they are sampling the early spring trout runs for health.

If you want to see some beautiful rainbows and observe biologists examine them for health, visit Naples or Pleasant Valley and watch the action.

The 2020 sampling is scheduled for:

March 19, 9 a.m., Naples Creek, just north of the village of Naples, Ontario County, at the Rt. 245 bridge; and

March 20, 10 a.m., Cold Brook (Keuka Inlet) in the hamlet of Pleasant Valley, Steuben County.

DEC is conducting the sampling to aid in the agency’s ongoing assessment of Finger Lakes fisheries management practices and to provide up-to-date information for the opening-day fishing forecast.

During sampling, data will be collected for each fish, including length, weight, sex, and spawning condition. A scale from the fish is used to determine age and growth rate. Sampling results will be available to the public at the DEC Region 8 Fisheries Office prior to the April 1 opening of the “inland” trout fishing season.

Electrical wands are used to stun the fish. They are netted, data is collected, and the fish are returned to the stream.

MAC accepting camp sign-ups

The Montezuma Audubon Center is proud to announce that summer camp registration is now open. Children ages 6-15 will explore the birds, and other wildlife and habitats around the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, through fun, interactive and educational day camps.

All camp hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hunter and Waterfowl

When: July 6-10

Ages: 11-15

Fee: $175

Students earn their hunter safety and waterfowl identification education certificates through hands-on learning and outdoor experiences. Activities include canoeing, target practice at a local shooting range, nest box monitoring, and hunting dog demonstrations. Participants will be given the course manuals and workbooks prior to camp.

Bowhunter and Trapper

When: July 13-17

Ages: 11-15

Fee: $175

Students earn their bowhunter and trapper education certificates through hands-on learning and outdoor experiences. Activities include trail camera monitoring, a trip to Heritage Outdoor Sports for target practice, canoeing around muskrat habitats, and field dressing lessons. Campers will be given the course manuals and workbooks prior to camp.


When: July 20-24

Ages: 11-15

Fee: $175

Students will learn about safe fishing practices through hands-on and fun experiences while fishing for trout, panfish, bass and more around the Finger Lakes region. Activities will include a trip to Powder Mills Park, canoeing around the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, invasive species management projects, fly fishing demonstrations and a trip to Savannah Dhu.


Dates: Aug. 3-7, Aug. 10-14, Aug. 17-21

Ages: 6-10

Fee: $175

Children will explore the wonders of nature through a variety of games, crafts, and activities. Campers will catch frogs and other aquatic life in the pond, search for signs of mammal activity in the forest, discover birds that live in the grassland, and more.

Space is limited, and online registration is required. Visit to register. Questions about the Montezuma Audubon Center summer camps can be directed to Donna Richardson at or (315) 365-3588.

Plastic bag ban starts today

Did you know New Yorkers use more than 23 billion plastic bags a year? That’s around 1,000 bags per person annually. When we improperly dispose them, plastic bags create pollution, and are often seen stuck in trees or floating in our waterways. They pose threats to fish and wildlife, clog machinery at recycling facilities, and litter the pristine outdoor places we love and enjoy spending time in with our friends and family.

The Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act begins today. Whether you’re going to the grocery store, clothes shopping, or to a home improvement store, make sure to bring your reusable bags.

Additionally, stores covered under the Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act will still be required to collect plastic bags and other film plastics from consumers for recycling. Film plastics include items such as bread bags and plastic wraps that come over cases of water, paper towels and other similar items. Consumers can help by continuing to recycle these items at participating retailers.

Questions on the upcoming plastic bag ban? Email

Chris Kenyon’s “Outdoors” appears every other Sunday. Contact Chris at (315) 879-1341 or

Chris Kenyon’s “Outdoors” appears every other Sunday. Contact Chris at (315) 879-1341 or

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