Fly fishing rod

Hatfield Select Board likes the idea of ​​improving Day Pond for recreation

Posted: 10/14/2022 6:05:38 PM

HATFIELD – A small pond near Smith Academy which for more than 80 years was the site of an annual youth fishing derby could use some improvement.

Members of the Hatfield Fish & Game Club are pitching the idea that the city invest in Day Pond, a municipal body of water, so it can be available for more recreational activities, including ice skating in the winter.

“It would be a great place for the kids to go fishing all year round,” club chairman Michael Szych told the Select Board on Tuesday.

Additionally, he noted that the high school now has a fly fishing club and students could use the site for practice.

The Poppy Thayer Memorial Fishing Derby dates back to at least 1937, taking the name of W. Robert Thayer Sr., an avid sportsman, yachtsman and retired policeman, after his death in 1991. The derby hosted girls and boys 14 and under in the competition which awards various prizes. Participants bring their own fishing rods and bait.

Szych explained that the pond is too shallow, requiring an oxygenator to be in place when trout are stocked before the fishing tournament, and those that are not caught are then released back into the Mill River. In addition, the pond dam needs to be repaired.

The pond improvement request comes at a time when the work could be linked to other projects, such as a walking path being built at the secondary school and a walking path for the elderly that would extend of the Capowonk Housing property.

Some board members appeared supportive of the land, although they are unsure if a request for the money could be ready to go to voters at the town hall in the coming months.

“There are a million good reasons to do this,” President Diana Szynal said, noting that her own children enjoyed participating in the fishing tournament.

Szynal said it looks like a community preservation bill that could use money from the account created from a surcharge on property tax bills, supporting recreation, affordable housing and spaces. open. Szynal said the project should be done thoughtfully and in conjunction with other work.

“It’s a great place now, but it has a lot of potential,” Szynal said.

Board member Ed Jaworski, who also sits on the Hatfield Fish and Game board, said the Conservation Commission and Open Spaces Committee may also want to take on the project and consider supporting an application.

Access to the pond is usually from Smith Academy, although those living on nearby Day Avenue will be notified when the fishing derby takes place, as some people access the site via private property.

Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]