A memorable experience for both youngsters and you at Lampe Park this weekend

Are you interested in doing something completely different this weekend?

Well, if you are and if you either have, are related to or know youngsters, ages 3-12, be sure to set aside Saturday or Sunday to be part of a truly memorable event.

Those two days are the dates of the huge, fun-filled, 11th annual Kids' Fishing Derby.

It will be held at Lampe Creek in Lampe Park in Gardnerville.

To reach the park, just take U.S. 395 through Gardnerville until you reach the traffic light at Waterloo Lane. Turn to the right and you will be at Lampe Park.

It is billed as one of the largest, free, children's fishing derbies in the entire Western United States. And, in my less-than-humble opinion, it more than lives up to that impressive billing.

If you've never been to any of the previous derbies, be sure to attend this one. It will be definitely worth the time and effort.

The Kids' Fishing Derby is jointly sponsored by The Kids' Fishing Derby, Inc., the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department, the Nevada Division of Wildlife and the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery.

In the past 10 years, it has steadily grown from a very modest beginning of about 250 youngsters, the first year, to where it is now one of this area's largest and most outstanding outdoor activities.

It is also timed to coincide with the 21st celebration of National Fishing Week, which runs June 3-11.

As a side note, I bet you don't know that more than 90 percent of today's anglers began fishing before the age of 18? It's true.

This derby provides the youngsters of this area with a golden opportunity to be introduced to an outdoor sport that they will be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

This year, as in past years, a total of some 2,400 youngsters, ages 3-12, will be signed up to fish in six different time periods on Saturday and Sunday.

There are three fishing sessions on each of those two days: 9-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.

The first of those six different time periods will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday and it will have about 400 youngsters, each trying to catch his/her limit of two trout.

The trout are provided by the Nevada Division of Wildlife and the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery. Those two entities are donating an estimated 6,000 trout for the two-day event.

Most impressively, included in the 4,500 trout being donated by the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery will be some very special rainbows. Those selected, specially-grown trout will weigh anywhere from five to eight pounds. No, that's not a misprint, huge rainbow trout weighing 5-8 pounds. Can you imagine the thrill of a lifetime that some youngster will have when one of those trophy trout grabs his/her Power Bait. Heck, it would even be the thrill of a lifetime for an old time fisherman like me.

All of the 2,400 youngsters in the derby must be pre-registered and they will need their specially-colored tickets to fish in their pre-assigned time slots.

As a matter of interest, if you're the parent of a little pre-schooler entered in the derby, you will be allowed to ASSIST your youngster while he/she is fishing.

Please notice that key word "assist." You can assist them by baiting their hook, casting the line out, untangling a snarl, unsnagging a snag, etc.

However, you can not bring in the fish for your youngster, so don't be tempted. It's a kids fishing derby. It's not a parents fishing derby.

Unfortunately each year, some of the parents get carried away and they do the fishing while their youngster is pushed aside. Just be forewarned that if you should be tempted to bring in your youngster's fish, the public address announcers are instructed to call you to the attention of the crowd. Needless to say, the P.A. announcers will not be shy about pointing out violators. So, don't cause yourself any needless embarrassment. Let your child bring in his/his own fish. That way, it's more fun for them and no embarrassment for you.

The Kid's Fishing Derby chairperson this year is Kim McQueary and she still needs additional volunteers to assist with the derby.

Volunteers are needed for such tasks as checking in the anglers, providing poles and reels, baiting hooks, helping to cast, netting fish, untangling snarls and snags, cleaning fish, manning the prize table, cooking hamburgers, etc.

You can sign up to help on either Saturday, Sunday or both days. So, if you would like to volunteer your services, call McQueary at 267-5085.

It's a great way to be a small part of a very important event in the lives of 2,400 local youngsters. If you would like to volunteer, plan to attend the special "Volunteers Meeting" to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday night at the Group Pavilion in Lampe Park. Call Tim Lietz (Volunteer Chairman) at 265-5814.

There are still a few fishing slots open, so if you have youngster who has not yet signed up, registration forms are available in Carson City at the Sierra Fly Shoppe at 200 W. John St. (841-FISH) or at Aspen Outdoors at 3579 Highway 50 East (884-1464).

Registration forms are also available in Douglas County at the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department at 1327 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville (782-9828).

For information, call the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Dept. at 782-9828 during regular business hours or McQueary at 267-5085 (home) or Carolyn Kilpatrick at 883-0792 (home).

- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what happens to those trout in Lampe Creek that are not caught during the Kids' Fishing Derby.

The correct answer is, "The remaining fish can only be caught by two different groups. Those groups are youngsters up to the age of 16 or persons with a "disabled person" fishing license. In either case, they must abide by the existing Douglas County and the Nevada Division of Wildlife rules and regulations that govern fishing at Lampe Park. Anyone else, trying to fish in the creek, will be cited and fined."

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