A special outdoor event guaranteed to warm your heart

It's that time of the year again: Here is your annual reminder of a special outdoor event sneaking up around the corner that is guaranteed to warm your heart.

And, this huge two-day event is one of the many reasons why this general area is such a very special place to live.

What is it?

Heck, the answer is easy: It's the 19th annual Kids' Fishing Derby.

Through the years, that derby is something that has been enjoyed by many tens and tens of thousands of people.

And, if you attend, you can add your name to the list of countless folks (including me!) who have had a "Ton of Fun" there.

Where is it?

The derby is always held at Lampe Creek in Lampe Park in Gardnerville in Douglas County.

When is it?

This year, it will be held on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday June 1.

Kid's Fishing Derby info:

If you've never been there, Lampe Park is reached by taking U.S. 395 south from Carson City to Gardnerville to the traffic light located at the intersection of U.S. 395 and Waterloo Lane. At that traffic light, turn right, travel several hundred yards and you'll be at Lampe Park.

That Douglas County park is the site of the Kids' Fishing Derby, which provides thousands of youngsters of this area with a golden opportunity to be introduced to an outdoor sport they will be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Each year, about 2,400 youngsters (ages 3-12) sign up to fish in six different time periods.

On both Saturday and Sunday, there will be three different fishing sessions: 8-9:30 a.m., 10 -11:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Each of those sessions will have about 400 youngsters, each trying to catch his/her limit of two trout.

In addition, on Saturday afternoon, there will be an extra session beginning at 2:30 p.m., which is restricted to only those youngsters who have special needs.

If you're the parent of a little pre-schooler entered in the derby, there is a special area where one of the parents is allowed to "assist" their youngster while fishing. You can assist by baiting their hook, casting the line out, untangling a snarl or a snag, etc.

However, you can not bring in the fish for your youngster. Don't be tempted. It's a kids' fishing derby, it's not an adult derby. Let the youngster enjoy the thrill of catching a fish.

The fish:

There will be a total of 6,000 trout provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS), the Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW) Mason Valley Hatchery and by a private hatchery at Susanville, Calif.

The USF&WS will plant 1,700 trout weighing 3-4 pounds each.

The Susanville hatchery will plant 30 trout weighing 7 pounds each! That's correct: A total of 30 7-pound rainbows! Wow!

Hmmm, I wonder if I could pass as a youngster for a chance at one of those trophies? Probably not.

And, as usual, there will be 300 tagged trout, marked with a special tag on the Dorsal Fin. When a youngster catches one of those tagged rainbows, that lucky angler will be able to pick and choose from a number of nice items at the prize table.

Sign ups:

So, if you have youngsters, or if you are related to or know other youngsters who are in that age group of 3-12, be sure they sign up as soon as possible. Do it today!

Registration forms are available at the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department at 1327 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville during regular business hours.

Sponsors:

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, plus the major sponsorship of Raley's of Gardnerville.

Miscellaneous:

The Kids' Fishing Derby is billed as one of the largest, free, children's fishing derbies west of the Mississippi River.

And, it certainly has more than lived up to that impressive billing through the years.

If you've never attended any of the derbies, be sure to attend this one. It will be definitely worth the time and effort and provide you with a wealth of memories.

Don't forget to take your camera to capture some priceless photographs of happy youngsters.

Finally:

Many volunteers are still needed to help with 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 on both days. Why not sign up as a volunteer today?

For registration Information:

Call the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Dept. at 782-9828,

For derby information:

Call Chairperson Pam Rodrigues at 265-1795 or Steve Hamilton at 782-0742 or Trent Dowell at 267-2724.

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

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

If he grins and says, "The remaining fish can only be caught by youngsters up to the age of 16 or by individuals with a "disabled person" fishing license. Anyone else, trying to fish in the creek, will be cited and fined," he could be a game warden.

So, don't be tempted!

• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal

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