Less fishermen compete at Annual Kiwanis Lake Fishing Derby in York, say it isn’t what it used to be

YORK, Pa. -- For many kids, Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer so they do what they can to have fun on their last day of freedom.

For some kids, that meant competing at the Annual Fishing Derby at Lake Kiwanis in York.

Some fishermen were a bit disappointed. They say the lake isn't clean which makes fishing more difficult. They also say the annual celebration isn't what it used to be, and there's less activities for the kids.

Still, generations of fishermen came out to make a catch at the lake.

"It's a day off from work, and we're on vacation, so spending the day with the kids," said Kevin Holtztapple of York. He went fishing with his son and daughter.

"Twenty years myself… and I've been bringing my son and grandson," said James Harris of York. He came with his son and grandson.

Baiting hooks and casting out in hopes of bringing home a trophy or two and who could forget bragging rights?

For many fishermen,, the competition brings them back to a time when they say the lake wasn't algae ridden or littered with things like bikes and tires.

"Twenty years ago, we didn't have the feces from the ducks, and we didn't have the grass and trees - whatever is growing into the lake," added Harris.

In fact, one of the derby's organizers says the derby's attendance drops every year.

"This is the smallest turnout I've ever seen," said Tom Santone, President, York-Adams Central Labor Council.

Some kids say it's hard to catch anything, and if they do, it's snagged with weeds.

"Caught a little bit of leaves, and that's about it," said Adonis Harris-Riddick of York.

In the past, when fish didn't bite, many would listen to the live music or go shop at the flea market, except there's no entertainment to be found.

"There's no rides, there's no flea market, there's just nothing else going on here," added Santone.

"There was bands over there, there was children all around," described Harris.

"There's usually music, and if I'm not catching anything, I could go hang out with my friends, but there's not really a point," added Harris-Riddick.

They say they want the City of York to clean out the lake and bring the fun back to the Annual Kiwanis Lake Labor Day tradition.

Despite the murky fishing conditions, kids still caught some fish, the largest at 19 inches. There will also be free fireworks tonight at dusk.