The Annual Darlington Fishing Rodeo is held the second Saturday in June (this year June 10) at the Susquehanna State Park, Deer Creek Picnic Area – rain or shine. The Fishing Rodeo was initiated by the Darlington Lions Club in 1976. For the past twelve years, the Darlington and Conowingo Lions Clubs have come together to host the event, along with help from local Department of Natural Resources personnel. The event, including lunch, is entirely free.
Registration for the 41st Fishing Rodeo will begin at 10:30am, with participants ages 3 to 15 in three different age groups. During the registration period (10:30am-12:30pm) a casting contest is held with $10 awarded to the best cast in each of the age groups.
The actual fishing runs from 12:30 to 2pm, with prizes (a new rod and reel) for the most fish caught and for the largest fish caught in each age category. Following the awards for casting, most fish, and longest fish, registration numbers are drawn until every participant’s number is called and every youngster goes home with something (a tackle box, a hat, lures, water bottle, etc.) The consultation prizes are spread out on the ground and as each number is called, the winner comes up and picks his/her prize.
There is a pond at the park and the DNR personnel assure the pond is pond stocked with fish prior to the rodeo. One special fish is “tagged” and if any child catches the tagged fish there is a $50 bonus prize awarded. Fish are caught, but so is a lot swamp grass and turtles, which are always tossed back into the water.
Members of the Conowingo Lions Club man a hot dog table with water, sodas, chips and snack cakes. There is no charge for the goodies, although most parents throw a dollar or two into the bucket.
Participation in the annual Rodeo varies from year-to-year, with as many as 125 youngsters in some years. We’re excited to note that more girls are discovering the sport and taking home some of the bigger prizes! All the young anglers, their parents, the Lions Club members and DNR helpers have a great outing.
Many of the parents note that they participated in the Fishing Rodeo when they were young and now enjoy the experience with their own children. County Executive Barry Glassman was one of our fishermen long before he could spell “politics.”