April 9, the official opening of the fishing season in the Nutmeg State is the day when fly-fishing aficionados from near and far flock to the Annual Riverton Fishing Derby in the Riverton section of Barkhamsted, located in the beautiful Litchfield Hills.
The day starts before daybreak with a hearty breakfast beginning at 4 a.m. at the Riverton Fire Department on 3 Riverton Rd. in the center of town. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be available at the Riverton General Store located in the center of town in a mid.-19th century building that is the hub of activity for this village. Green mountain coffee, made to order sandwiches, homemade soups, chili, salad and pastries are just some of the things offered here. For more information on Riverton General Store http://www.rivertongeneralstore.com.
This exciting Litchfield Hills event takes place on April 9 th on the West branch of the Farmington River, a Nationally designated “Wild and Scenic” river that is known to host an abundance of rainbow, brown and brook trout. As a matter of fact, on Friday afternoon before this event, over 100 fish are purchased and released into the Farmington River adding even more incentive to catch the “big one.” The contest, complete with prizes, begins at 6 a.m. and lasts for about four hours, ending at 10 a.m. and it’s all-free; and there is no registration or fee required.
The public is always welcome to attend this event and to cheer on their favorite fisherman. Last year some 500 enthusiasts participated in the derby. An even bigger crowd is expected this year. Prizes include items donated by local merchants as well as by Orvis and Cabela’s. The coveted grand prize is a village chair of Riverton donated by the Hitchcock Chair Company. The Hitchcock Chair Company Store is located in Riverton and stocks an excellent selection of this classic hand stenciled furniture. For information about the Hitchcock Chair Company visit www.hitchcockchair.com.
A bit further upriver a section of the flowing waters especially stocked for the occasion, is set aside for the “Kid’ Derby”. Any tot under 16 who is able to hold a fishing pole, can join in the fun. Special prizes are awarded to kids. To find out more about the Fishing Derby and other events in Riverton, visit http://rivertonct.com.
The easiest way of getting a fishing license is to visit the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s online sportsmen licensing at https://ct.outdoorcentral.net/InternetSales. Fishing licenses are also available from town clerks and this website has a complete listing of town clerks and businesses that sell fishing licenses. The website also has a weekly fishing report that runs from opening day through the end of November. The report is a summary of fresh and saltwater fishing activity in the state as reported by tackle stores around the state.