Naples is for anglers

One trout derby is steeped in tradition, the other is an inaugural event. Both cater to anglers near and far to mark the beginning of stream-fishing season.

On Tuesday, April 1, the 53rd Annual Naples Rainbow Trout Derby will undoubtedly attract hundreds of anglers as it does each year. The longest continuously held fishing contest in New York state, the one-day derby sponsored by Naples Rotary attracts locals as well as out-of-towners who have been coming for generations.

“I expect they will be back,” said Joyce Doran, who is in her 17th year as co-organizer of the derby with fellow Naples resident Jane Schenk.

“These fishermen have been coming to Naples Creek for years,” said Doran, who began fishing Naples Creek with her father as a kid growing up near Buffalo.

The derby, headquartered at Naples Fire Hall in the village, attracts many from western New York and beyond, including other states. Last year, 400 registered anglers brought in 111 fish.

This year, a second derby in Naples gets underway sponsored by local veterans organizations. The first-ever Veterans Annual Rainbow Trout Derby begins April 1 and goes through Saturday, April 5, with weigh-in daily at the VFW/American Legion Post just north of the village on Route 21.

Both derbies offer prizes and raise money for local causes.Proceeds from the Naples Rainbow Trout Derby go toward community organizations and projects such as Open Cupboard, Hospeace House, student scholarships, Naples Activity Center and Bristol Valley Theater Kids program.

Rotary President Mike Joseph said the derby last year helped pay for $4,000 worth of new library books. The derby typically raises about $2,200 annually to help Rotary fund community causes, Joseph said.

Naples Mayor Brian Schenk, an organizer with the Veterans Derby, said proceeds from the five-day event will go toward projects of American Legion Jacob Schaeffer Post 810. They include helping like-minded organizations decorate veterans’ graves each Memorial Day and the recent restoration of Naples Civil War Cannon now displayed at the Naples Memorial Town Hall in a new, enclosed memorial.

“The restoration effort was quite costly,” said Schenk.

“I think it will be great for the community,” said Doran of the two derbies. While the widely-known, long-established Naples Rainbow Trout Derby attracts folks who love the tradition, the five-day derby will give locals a chance to also compete in a contest in the days after April 1, when Naples Creek is not so crowded, she said.

“I think it will be very exciting,” said Doran.