A North Tonawanda man has become the first 2012 Erie Canal Fishing Derby participant to catch a tagged fish.
Albert Whaley caught tagged fish No. 028 on Thursday in the Tonawandas, earning him $150 in fishing merchandise. The sponsor of the tagged fish is LaPort's Pine Street Restaurant in Lockport.
There are 49 additional tagged fish in the canal, including one worth $2,500 and there are about $20,000 in prizes, including daily kids prizes with the youth grand prize of a new canal trail bike.
Meanwhile, the first official Derby Leaderboard was released on Thursday night by Derby founder Steve Harrington of Gasport and his wife, Lynn.
The derby continues through July 15 on canal waters between Albion and Tonawanda with the grand prize of a new fishing boat and trailer.
There are adult leaders in every fish division, but there are several divisions where no qualifying fish has yet been caught. This means that any interested youth who would like to sign up for the derby — this might be a great time.
The cost to enter the family-oriented derby is $7 for boys and girls 14 and under and $12 for everyone else. The family rate is $22 with a cash bash of $5.
Lockport's Craig Griffin is the adult catfish leader with a weigh-in of 5.66 pounds. The youth catfish leader is Lockport'sTyler Windslow with a 2.76-pound catch.
Middleport's Ben Schwab is atop the adult carp leaderboard with a 21.6-pound catch. The kids carp leader at 11.6 pounds is Joshua Staley of Virginia.
Topping the bullhead class is adult leader Pat Barrett of Lockport with a catch of .96 pounds. There is no kids bullhead division entry as of yet.
Eric Heiman of Lockport has the adult bass division lead with a 3.25-pound catch. The kids bass division leader is Nathan Ryan of Amherst (1.71).
Albion's Hunter Drake leads the adult sheephead class with a catch of 2.57 pounds. The kids sheephead division remains open.
Mike Boncore of Tonawanda is leading the adult Northern Pike class with a 5.64-pound haul-in. That kids division is also open, as is the kids' walleye class.
The adult walleye division is Lockport's Lisa Falsone with a weigh-in of 4.82-pounds.
Derby weigh stations are Wiggeling Willies on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda (870-9167), Niagara Outdoors, Witmer Road, NT (695-5873); Les Allen Live Bait, Hawley Street (433-8983); Harrington’s, Telegraph Road, Gasport (772-7972); Middleport Sports Shop, Main Street, Middleport (946-9943); or Jeddo Bait & Tackle, Ridge Road, Medina (585-318-4310).
Interested participants can sign up for the derby at any of the above locations or at Gander Mountain, 880 Young St., Tonawanda (743-2300).
THURSDAY'S DERBY LEADERBOARD
Adult: Craig Griffin, Lockport, 5.66
Kids: Tyler Windslow, Lockport, 2.76
Adult: Ben Schwab, Middleport, 21.60
Kids: Joshua Staley, Virginia, 11.60
Adult: Pat Barrett, Lockport, .96
Adult: Eric Heiman, Lockport, 3.25
Kids: Nathan Ryan, Amherst, 1.71
Adult: Hunter Drake, Albion, 2.57
Adult: Mike Boncore, Tonawanda, 5.64
Adult: Lisa Falsone, Lockport, 4.82