Fishing Derby - Opening Day 2017

Fishing Derby - Opening Day April 8th from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.

Historic Riverton Fishing Derby Provides Much More Than the Big Catch

RIVERTON, CT – There is something for everyone at this year's Riverton Fishing Derby, Saturday, April 9th on the West branch of the Farmington River (Sponsored by the Barkhamsted Historical Society)--beginning with the traditional hearty pancake breakfast at 4 a.m. at the Riverton Fire Department and punctuated by the Fishing Derby and the awarding of a bevy of outstanding prizes. Activities, along with the fish, will be jumping in this quaint village in the Town of Barkhamsted, Connecticut.

As usual, the Grand Prize is a Hitchcock chair, which carries on a tradition of many years through the generosity of the Hitchcock Chair Company, whose retail store is located right in Riverton. Many of the trophy fish will be caught in the shadow of the original Hitchcock Chair Factory which sits along the West branch of the Farmington River, just above the bridge in Riverton. In addition to the stenciled Hitchcock chair, other prizes include half-day guided fly fishing tours by Orvis as well as gifts from local merchants.

The excellent fishing on this branch of the Farmington is partly attributable to its distinction as a National Wild & Scenic River. But what makes it a popular trophy fish destination for anglers who choose to fish here on Opening Day is that the previous Friday evening, more than 100 trout are released into the river in Riverton. These fish were purchased through the funds provided by the Farmington River Angler's Association, the Northwest Connecticut Sportsman's Council, the Northwestern Connecticut Sportsman’s Association, the Northwestern Connecticut Trout Unlimited Chapter #009, and the Trophy Trout Club from Bristol.

The River is also stocked by the State prior to Opening Day so that makes for lots of trout in these waters!

The Derby, which is open to the public, begins at 6 a.m. at the sound of a bell and ends at 10 a.m. Contestants bring their catches to the Riverton Fire Department for the official weigh-in. Upriver from the Riverton Bridge, a section of the flowing waters is set aside for a “Kid's Derby,”  which is open to youths under the age of 16 who are able to hold their own fishing poles. Special prizes are awarded to these young contestants.

For those who need to purchase a fishing license, the easiest way to do so is to visit the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s online sportsman licensing at Fishing licenses are also available from town clerks at

This annual event is open to the public and is a great way to spend a spring morning with the entire family.  

Quick Facts

  • The derby has been going on since the mid 50’s
  • There is a special area that is roped off for kids 16 and under – there are also separate prizes for the kids
  • CT fishing licenses are obtained on line – some tackle shops have the computer system to sell the licenses 
  • The Riverton Inn will be open for rooms but not lunch (did you know that they are a banquet facility now and open for special holidays and events)
  • The Riverton Volunteer Fire Department does a big breakfast starting at 4am
  • The Riverton General Store and Sweet Pea’s are open for lunch
  • The event does not depend on the weather – rain or shine always
  • There is no fee or registration
  • About 100 fish are purchased for the derby and are released into the water on Friday afternoon – The funds are donated by Northwest CT Trout Unlimited – Northwest CT Sportsman Association – NWCT Sportsman Council – Farmington River Angler’s Association – Trophy Trout Club
  • The grand prize will be a Village of Riverton Arm Chair donated by The Hitchcock Chair Company 
  • Other prizes donated by local merchants and Orvis, Cabela’s and Dick’s