Derby season is upon us. No, not the one that takes place down in Kentucky with horses, mint juleps, big hats and rose blankets. These derbies deal with water, fish, prizes and a whole lot of fun.
One in particular aims to raise awareness about invasive species. The "Stop the Snakehead Fishing Derby" is set for June 3 on the banks of the C&O Canal in Montgomery County.
Snakeheads were first found in the Potomac River in 2004. Since then, they have spread throughout tidal rivers in the Chesapeake Bay. In 2015 they were found reproducing in the C&O Canal. And just last year, a Maryland man caught a state record snakehead in the Potomac. The fish weighed in at more than 18 pounds.
The "Stop the Snakehead Fishing Derby takes place at the Pennyfield Lock beginning at 9 a.m. There will be prizes for biggest snakehead caught, as well as for anglers who catch the most species of fish. You can register for the derby and see the rules for it here.
Youth fishing derbies are also a great way to introduce children to the sport. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources organized more than three dozen across the state. The started this month with the last one scheduled for late October.
DNR's goal is to teach kids "basic angling skills, help them develop a stewardship ethic, and encourage fishing as an outdoor activity."
The events are generally open to kids between the ages of three and 15 years old. You can find a full list of youth fishing rodeos, as well as contact information, here.