Middletown's Elise Britton reeled in the top award in the DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 32nd Annual Youth Fishing Tournament June 2.

Under mostly cloudy skies that some would call good fishing weather, 213 young anglers and their families gathered at three Delaware ponds for the event.

All fish caught in the tournament were weighed and released, as young anglers got a first-hand lesson in conservation.

“For more than 30 years, this tournament has drawn young anglers to experience the excitement of catching fish while learning about conservation and taking care of our natural resources,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “I applaud all of this year’s participants and congratulate this year’s winners on their skill and potentially a little bit of luck.”

The New Castle County location, Lums Pond near Bear, drew 108 children and young teens casting lines, while at Kent County’s Akridge Scout Reservation pond near Camden, 54 youngsters turned out. Sussex County reeled in 51 young anglers to Ingrams Pond near Millsboro.

Elise Britton, 14, of Middletown hooked the overall statewide award, as well as the New Castle County award, for the second year in a row, with her largest catch, a 7.94-pound carp, the largest fish caught in this year’s tournament.

Other big fish included a 2.5-pound largemouth bass caught at Akridge Scout Reservation by Joshua Benton of Dover; a 1-pound, 14.9-ounce brown bullhead catfish caught by Sussex winner Luke Hitchens of Dagsboro; and a 1-pound, 2.7-ounce chain pickerel caught from Ingrams Pond by Garret Rogers.

The smallest fish of the day were caught by Trevor Torbert of Harrington, 0.01-pound bluegill from Akridge Scout Reservation’s pond; and Jimmy Swatski, with a 0.03-ounce bluegill from Ingrams Pond.

This year’s county winners and the overall statewide winner will be invited to a special trophy presentation at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 26.

New Castle County winners

Other New Castle County winners at Lums Pond, by age group and total weight of fish caught, were:

Ages 4 through 7

First place – Liesabet Barker, age 4, of Townsend, 2.03 pounds

Second place – Loralei Barker, age 6, of Townsend, 1.53 pounds

Third place – Gabriel Alfaro, age 4, of Newark, 1.09 pounds

Ages 8 through 11

First place – Leland Barker, age 10, of Townsend, 3.12 pounds

Second place – Onna Crowley, age 9, of Clayton, 2.94 pounds

Third place – Russel Reed, age 9, of Clayton, 1.90 pounds

Ages 12 through 15

First place – Jeffrey Johnson, age 13, of Middletown, 4.39 pounds

Second place – Danielle Carr, age 13, of Elkton, Md., 2.59 pounds

Third place – Anthony Lewis, age 15, of Townsend, 1.70 pounds

Kent County winners

At Akridge Scout Reservation, Adrianna Gott, age 11, of Viola, was the day’s overall winner with a total of 7.01 pounds of fish. Other Kent County winners were:

Ages 4 through 7

First place – Carly Clevens, age 7, of Wilmington, 2.96 pounds

Second place – Grayson Glanden, age 5, of Felton, 2.24 pounds

Third place – Collin Messinger, age 5, of Dover, 1.29 pounds

Ages 8 through 11

First place – Connor Wyatt, age 10, of Dover, 5.77 pounds

Second place – Bailey Fuller, age 8, of Camden, 3.38 pounds

Third place – Joshua Benton, age 10, of Dover, 3.30 pounds

Ages 12 through 15

First place – Trevor Torbert, age 14, of Harrington, 6.78 pounds

Second place – Ethan Wong, age 14 of Frederica, 4.23 pounds

Third place – Peyton Timmons, age 13, of Dover, 3.88 pounds

Sussex County winners

At Ingram’s Pond in Sussex County, Luke Hitchens, age 11, of Dagsboro, was the day’s overall winner with a total of 4.54 pounds of fish. Other Sussex County winners were:

Ages 4 through 7

First place – John Timmons V, age 6, of Georgetown, 3.15 pounds

Second place – Madison Culley, age 7, of Laurel, 1.87 pounds

Third place – Joseph Lawson, age 7, of Laurel, 1.33 pounds

Ages 8 through 11

First place – Edvardo Lopez, age 10, of Selbyville, 4.26 pounds

Second place – Ava Puddicombe, age 11, of Laurel, 3.95 pounds

Third place – Nathan Green, age 11, of Millsboro, 2.53 pounds

Ages 12 through 15

First place – Zachary Hicks, age 13, of Greenwood, 1.43 pounds

Second place – Garrett Rogers, age 12, of Millsboro, 1.16 pounds

Third place – Camrin Croney, age 12, of Ocean View, 0.90 pounds

Tournament winners received trophies and prizes, and all participants received prizes.

Donors

This year’s tournament donors and supporters included statewide donor Cabela’s, and the following by county:

• New Castle County – Almars Outboards, Betts Garage, Reynolds Auto Collision, and Chris Lashone;

• Kent County – Dover Walmart, Dover Safeway, Williamsville Country Store, and Subway;

• Sussex County – Dewey Beach Lions Club, BJ’s, Dairy Queen, Jungle Jim’s, Funland, Lewes Harbour Marina, Lingo Marine, Short’s Marine, Rick’s Bait & Tackle, Hook ’em & Cook ’em Bait and Tackle, Millsboro McDonald’s, Old Inlet Bait & Tackle, Ice House Bait and Tackle, The Lead Pot, and White Water Mountain.

About the tournament

The Youth Fishing Tournament was established to introduce youth to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The tournament, held annually in June, is open to youth ages 4 through 15. For more information on the Youth Fishing Tournament, call 302-739-9913.