Participants in the 2017 Shelby Township Fishing Derby wait for fish to bite their lines and hope to win a prize for the biggest fish.

Participants in the 2017 Shelby Township Fishing Derby wait for fish to bite their lines and hope to win a prize for the biggest fish.

Photo provided by Pam Marshall

Shelby Township invites youngsters to compete in fishing derby

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 24, 2019


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Grab your fishing line and head to the lake June 8 for a little competition.

The Shelby Township Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department will host its 33rd annual fishing derby competition and welcomes young children to see who can catch the biggest fish.

The fishing derby will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Heritage Lake, 52700 Van Dyke Ave. on the township’s municipal grounds.

“The Shelby Township Youth Fishing Derby will be held on June 8 in conjunction with Michigan Free Fishing Weekend,” said Pam Marshall, the coordinator of the fishing derby.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to experience the sport of fishing together, and since there is no fishing license required for anyone that weekend, it’s a great opportunity to try fishing for the first time,” Marshall said in an email.

The event is held annually; however, it was rained out last year, so the township is hoping to have a warm, sunny day this year.

“When the weather is good, we can expect 200-plus participants that bring parents, grandparents, friends and family with them,” said Marshall.

The derby is open to children ages 15 and younger.

In order to participate in the derby, children must complete a form and bring it that day or fill one out at the registration table. The form can be found on the township website,

Participants must also bring their own equipment, and there will be limited free bait available to participants during the event.

The event will feature prizes and medals for the largest fish caught.

Mike Adams, the Shelby Township sports and recreation coordinator, said he has helped run the derby for 10-12 years now. He measures the fish, stocks the pond and announces winners.

Winners receive one of the many prizes from the township.

“We have prizes for different age groups ... tackle boxes and fishing poles,” Adams said in an email.

“There are also random prizes raffled off,” he said.

Marshall said the prizes and fun were sponsored, so they didn’t cost the township much.

“The sponsor fees help to pay for the prizes, other giveaways, refreshments, bait, etc., and there are funds budgeted each year for events,” said Marshall.

She said that even though there are already fish in the lake, they still add a few just in case.

“Even though the lake has fish in it, we restock it a bit each year to keep the population up,” Marshall said.

She also said there are a lot of fish living in the lake, and some that have been caught are pretty hefty.

“Heritage Lake may be small, but the fish population is thriving with a variety of species. Each year there are some pretty large fish caught at the event — with a number in the 18- to 20-inch-plus range,”  Marshall said.

Shelby Township’s own police officers and firefighters will be at the event to help.

“We are grateful to have representatives from our Police and Fire departments on hand at the fishing derby, and for event sponsors Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and the Detroit Area Steelheaders, whose contributions help to offset the costs to host the event,” said Marshall.

Winners of the derby will be announced after the event.

“(It’s a) great family event and it’s free!” Adams said.

For more information about the fishing derby, call (586) 731-0300 or visit