HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – This is the first full weekend the Holyoke Gas and Electric department’s fish lift has helped the Connecticut River shad migration over the Holyoke dam.
Fishermen from all over Western Massachusetts clustered either at the river’s edge or right in the Connecticut River.
Either for the sport of it or for the prizes and bragging rights they hoped to land the largest fish, which otherwise would get an elevator ride to the top of the dam.
Many of the fishermen are Shad Derby veterans.
“1968 when I first started coming down here, but back then we caught bigger fish,” said Kim Galdwell of Chicopee.
“We were very apprehensive because of the high water and the cold water temperatures and we were really worried about the fish being here in ample numbers,” said organizer John Coughlin.
Shad Derby enthusiasts hope that the biggest fish this weekend will not be the one’s that got away.
Last year some 400,000 shad were lifted over the Holyoke dam. There’s no telling how many fishermen caught during the 2013 Shad Derby.