ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Families around the region arrived early at Eldridge Park this morning for the 34th Annual Ed Pariso Kids Fishing Derby. Local kids got the opportunity to fish for free and compete for prizes.

June 15th is the first day of Black Bass Fishing Season in New York State, but there were many different species of fish up for grabs at the Ed Pariso Kids Fishing Derby. Kids got a free opportunity to compete against each other to catch the largest fish, thanks to Trout Unlimited.

"So each kid brings in their fish, gets it measured and we'll break it down per species. And the biggest fish for each species gets a prize and then every kid that signed up also got prizes," said Ryan Young of Trout Unlimited, "so far a crappie has been caught, a bluegill, a trout, a bullhead, and a few big bass."

Trout Unlimited served as the organizers of today's derby, held in honor of Ed Pariso who started this derby 34 years ago. Stocking of waterways occurs in Spring to help prepare for the summer fishing season, a process that Trout Unlimited uses to help educate those that are interested.

"In the spring we'll do stocking and we always invite kids to come out and stock trout with us. That's on our Facebook page and we'll do this about the same time again next year," added Young.

The New York State Black Bass fishing season runs until November 30th, the season is open all year for species such as Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, and Lake Trout.