HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- One of the largest fishing events in the region is taking place this weekend.

It's the annual Holyoke Gas and Electric Shad Derby.

Fisherman line the banks of the Connecticut River to catch the heaviest shad.

With all the rain, there have been some concerns over the river level and clarity, those concerns have washed away.

"The river has gone down. There will be plenty of room to fish. You'll be able to be out on your boats," said fisherman John Coughlin.

The annual Holyoke Gas and Electric Shad Derby is back with fishing along the Connecticut River this weekend and those attending trying to catch the heaviest American shad.

"The American shad is a fantastic sport fish," Coughlin added.

However, with all of the rain we've gotten, there were concerns over the high river levels until now.

"The water would be up to here and then there's no room. This is the first time this season this has been like this. The river has been exceedingly, has been high, and the clarity of the river when the river is high...there's not much clarity and the fish hunker down and don't move as much," Coughlin noted.

Not only did they need the river level to go down, a boat ramp had to be cleared out.

"They worked very hard all day long to clear all the logs, so now there's ample parking, ample room," Coughlin said.

So how does it work? Head down with your pole and line. The tournament is free.

The top 10 heaviest fish must be caught by hook and line and weighed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

There's also a junior division.

"The conditions are pretty good and we're excited about it," Coughlin explained.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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