Fishermen gather along the Farmington River for the Riverton Fishing Derby on Saturday, April 10.
Fishermen gather along the Farmington River for the Riverton Fishing Derby on Saturday, April 10.

All photos by Chris Rabago

RIVERTON — After taking a year off last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Riverton Fishing Derby returned on Saturday, April 10.
Hundreds of anglers, both young and old, lined up along the Farmington River to compete for various prizes.
The event started at 6 a.m., with the siren on top of the Riverton Firehouse signaling the beginning of the event.
According to Riverton Fire Department Chief Norman Bird, the event started in 1949.
“This year is a little different because the fishing season started three weeks ago,” Bird said. “Because of the pandemic, they opened it up early. Normally this would be the first day of the fishing season. We’re a little anxious about the crowd we are going to get.”
Bird said that the day before the derby the river was stocked with fish.
“They stocked the river with some golden trout, along with what they call ‘man eating’ trout,” he said. “These boys are 15 pounders, which is huge. So that’s going to bring in a lot of people. But it’s great that we will also get some kids here. We have generations of kids that come here to the derby to fish.”
Another tradition is the fisherman’s breakfast at the firehouse which starts around 4 a.m. before the derby.
“That’s been going on as long as the derby has existed,” Bird said. “It’s a fundraiser for the fire department. We don’t raise a lot of money, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Before prizes were given out this year, a memorial was held for Roberta Petit was held.
Petit passed away a month ago, and both she and her husband Ed owned the Riverton General Store for over 20 years.
“They were the heart and soul of this little community,” Bird said.
The grand prize winner was Max Blaschke of Middletown who won with his catch of a five pound, eight ounce fish. He took took home a chair donated by Hitchcock Chair Company.
First place in the adult category was George Riccucci of Torrington, while Ryan Dalka from Avon won in the youth division.