By Betsy Natter

The beginning of April marked the official opening of fishing season in Montgomery County. Many waterways are stocked and ready to go for eager fishermen. As the season kicks off, kids can also get in on the fun with free programs and derbies where they can practice their angling skills and have fun with other families. These special events provide “license free” fishing. By state regulation all other anglers over the age of 16 are required to have a state issued license.

Check out the following list of spots where kids can try their hand at this popular outdoor sport.

Lorimer Park – Kids Fishing Clinic and Derby

183 Moredon Rd., Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

(215) 947-3477

On Sat., April 22 the Huntingdon Valley Rotary Club will hold their annual Kid’s Fishing Derby from 8 am to 2 pm along the Pennypack Creek in Lorimer Park. Kids can pick up fishing skill basics and tips from local “experts” and then try their hand at catching a trout from the newly stocked waters. The program is for kids ages 7 to 14 with an adult present. The program is jointly sponsored by the Rotary Club and Southeastern Montgomery County Trout Unlimited. The event is free, but donations are gladly accepted.

James Memorial Park – Fishing Derby

1709 Ridge Rd., Sellersville, PA

(215) 257-9063

Join the West Rockhill Township Parks and Rec department at the park pond for their 7th annual fishing derby for kids on Sat., April 29 from 9 am to 12 pm. Prizes are awarded for the 3 largest fish caught in each of several age categories for boys and girls up to age 12. Each contestant must be accompanied by an adult. Free hot dogs and drinks are available as well for participants. Check out the link for a great video sharing the excitement from a previous year at https://youtu.be/R5Tl7yMd4zM.

Norristown Farm Park – Stony Creek Anglers Trout Derby

2500 Upper Farm Rd, Norristown, PA 19403

Stony Creek Anglers are sponsoring their annual Trout Derby on Sat., April 29 beginning at 8 am on the grounds of Norristown Farm Park. Cost for the event is $20 for adults (ages 16 and up), $10 for teens (ages 13-15) and children under 13 are $5 each. A special pond is available for younger children to try their hand at angling and special sections of the stream are set up for teenagers and also challenged adults. For more information, contact Charles Wood at (267) 438-2572, Mike Boland at (610) 256-5482 or Steve Corbin at (610) 812-9017.

Green Lane Park – Family Fishing Program

2144 Snyder Rd., Green Lane, PA 18054

(215) 234-4528

Celebrate the end of school by taking the family out for a fun day of fishing at Green Lane Park on Sat., June 17 at 9 am. Join a Park Ranger as they teach the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s Fishing Skills Class. Learn about the habitat and ecology of maintaining fishing waters and the basics of fishing and angling techniques. Then put what you learn into practice and land some fish at Deep Creek Lake. Rods, tackle and bait are all supplied as part of the free program. No fishing license is required but pre-registration is necessary and spaces fill, so sign up soon to reserve your spot. This program is for individual families so no organized groups are permitted and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Center Point Pond – Fish Pond

1814 Valley Forge Rd, Worcester Twp, PA 19490

(610) 222-9060

For license free fishing anytime, try out Center Point Pond in Worcester Township just outside Skippack. Get some help learning the sport or just sit back and reel them in. The facility is open for trout and hybrid striper catch and keep and stocked with bass, catfish and bluegills for catch and release. Rod rental and bait are available on site. Check out the website for hourly rates and prices for caught fish. The pond is open for fishing Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 6 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

For anglers who have caught the fishing bug and want to fish all season long, licenses can be purchased online from the PA Fish and Boat Commission or from many local retailers who sell fishing equipment. Also, check out the commission’s free app for smartphones, Fish Boat PA. The app provides a variety of resources including information on trout stocking schedules for waterways in the area, fishing regulations and where to purchases a license, a fish identification tool and a trophy case for sharing your catch info with friends.