All systems are go for the silver anniversary edition of the Kids Fishing Derby Saturday and Sunday at Lampe Park.
“We’ll be ready, the fish will be ready and I’m sure the kids will be ready,” said Steve Hamilton, vice-president for the board of directors, who has been in the derby for 11 years.
Three sessions will be held starting at 8 a.m. each day on Willow Creek.
Just like it has been for 25 years, the derby is being held free for girls and boys ages 3-12. Last year’s event attracted more than 1,600 youngsters for two fun-filled days.
“It’s the funnest event that goes on an annual basis here in Carson Valley, if you ask me,” Hamilton said during an interview in early March.
At that time, prospects for the derby were in question due to winter drought conditions. The water supply is no longer a concern, Hamilton noted.
“We don’t have any problems now,” he said. “We were being told there would be a shortfall, but then we had a few good storms and then all that rain last week.”
Work to put the fencing in place begins today. On Thursday, Willow Creek will be stocked with between 5,000 and 6,000 fish from the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Mason Valley Fish Hatchery and O’Banion’s Fish Hatchery in Smith Valley. The fish plant will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon, with students from Gardnerville Elementary School expected to watch.
“It’s kind of an annual event,” Hamilton said. “The kids stand on the bank of the creek and watch us plant fish. It’s a blast.”
To go along with the 25th anniversary celebration, the derby’s traditional limit of two fish per child is being raised to three, Hamilton said.
In addition to the many volunteers who donate their time, the derby’s success is due to the community support.
All prizes, tackle, bait and fish are funded with donations from businesses and individuals.
Hamilton noted that the derby still needs volunteers to help with the activities. Volunteers help set up, clean up, registration, food serving, the loaner pole station, gate keeper and more.
“As always, our greatest need is to help the kids,” Hamilton said during the March interview. “We’ve got volunteers who started fishing in the derby as kids and now have been volunteers for years. We’ve got one that I know of in the military who was a kid and then a volunteer then entered the military and now comes back every year on leave just to be a volunteer.”