Residents Reel In A Fun Time At Annual Fishing Derby

Residents enjoyed the 17th Annual Baxter’s Fishing Derby at Echo Lake this year, catching all types of fish. (Photo courtesy Howell Township)

  HOWELL – Several kids came out to Echo Lake to enjoy their love for fishing at this year’s Baxter’s Fishing Derby.

  This is Howell Township’s 17th year hosting the Baxter’s Fishing Derby. The event originally started in 2005 to honor Robert Baxter III. He was a Howell Police Officer who was taken at an early age of 23 in 2003.

  Baxter was an avid fisherman that enjoyed spending his recreational time fishing, so the Baxter’s Fishing Derby has been named in his honor since then.

  Steven Fecher, the Township’s Director of Community Relations, explained how not only does the event promote youth fishing, but shows how much of an impact Baxter has made to the community’s youth.

  “The township continues to hold the event to honor Robert Baxter’s legacy and to promote youth fishing in Howell Township. Robert “Bob” and Barbara Baxter, Robert Baxter III’s parents, have been an integral part in hosting the Baxter’s Fishing Derby and have made each event for the past 17 years,” Fecher said. “Besides seeing the children’s eyes light up when their name is called to receive a trophy, one of the things that make this derby special and unique is when the Baxter family walks around the lake with their dogs interacting with the families knowing that 17 years later, Robert Baxter III is still making an impact with the youth in Howell. You just take a step back, observe and a smile comes across your face knowing that the Township and all those involved can continue and support this wonderful event.”

Participant Nicole Purcell was the top winner in the Most Caught category in the 5 to 7 age group. (Photo courtesy Howell Township)

  In those 17 years, the event has had the same sponsors every year: The Baxter Family donate the trophies and bait; Lake Restoration & Wildlife Management Committee stocked Echo Lake; Stop & Shop of Howell donated refreshments, hot dogs and buns; and P.A.A.L.S. (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services) & Rob’s Best Friend Fund donated the giveaways.

  The derby for those ages 5 through 14 compete for the love of fishing. More than 550 rainbow trout, blue gill and bass were stocked at Echo Lake for participants to catch.

Participant Jace Klinchuk was the top winner in the Largest Fish category in the 5 to 7 age group. (Photo courtesy Howell Township)

  The top winners for this year are as followed:

  Ages 5 to 7:

  • Smallest:  Tyler Carroll  
  • Largest:  Jace Klinchuk 
  • Most:  Nicole Purcell  

  Ages 8 to 10:

  • Smallest:  Sheridan Handerhan 
  • Largest:  Devin Raney 
  • Most:  Bodhi Bourke  

  Ages 11 to 14:

  • Most:  Connor Poll  
Participant Jack Carpenter took home a second place trophy for his fishing skills at the derby. (Photo courtesy Howell Township)