Have a memorable experience with youngsters this weekend

How would you like to either watch or actively participate in a heart-warming, outdoor event for youngsters this weekend?

Well, if I now have your interest, this weekend is the 13th edition of the annual Kids' Fishing Derby.

That fun-filled derby is reserved for youngsters, ages 3-12.

It is free, it's huge and it will be held at Lampe Creek in Lampe Park in Gardnerville on Saturday and Sunday.

To reach Lampe Park, just take U.S. 395 from Carson City to Gardnerville. On the far end of Gardnerville is the intersection of U.S. 395 and Waterloo Lane. At that traffic light, turn to the right and you'll be at Lampe Park.

Most importantly, if you have youngsters or are related to youngsters or know youngsters in that special age group, be sure that they plan to participate in a truly memorable event.

The Kids' Fishing Derby is billed as one of the largest, free, children's fishing derbies in the entire Western United States. And, through the years it has more than lived up to that impressive billing.

If you've never been to any of the previous 12 derbies, be sure to attend this one. It will be definitely worth the time and effort and provide you with a wealth of great memories.

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.

By way of background, in the past 12 years, it has steadily grown from a very modest beginning of about 250 youngsters in its first year to more than 2,400 little fisher persons last year. 2,400!

The Kids' Fishing Derby is considered one of this area's largest and most outstanding outdoor activities. It is also timed to coincide with the celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 1-9.

As a matter of interest, did you know that more than 90 percent of today's anglers began fishing before the age of 18? It's true. I know that I did!

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

This year, as in the 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.

Saturday, there are three fishing sessions: 9-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.

Sunday, there are the same three fishing sessions: 9-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.

Each of those six different time periods 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 governmental agencies are donating and planting an estimated 6,000 rainbow trout for the two-day event.

Most impressively, some very special rainbows will be included in the approximately 4,500 trout being donated by the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery.

Those special rainbows will consist of a number of tagged trout, which will weigh an average of 1 3/4 pounds. When a youngster catches one of those tagged rainbows, that lucky youngster will win a very nice prize.

In addition, there will be other rainbows planted that will weigh up to two pounds. Two pounds! Wow, 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, a two-pound rainbow would even be a great thrill for an old-time fisherman like me. True story!

All of the 2,400 youngsters in the derby must be pre-registered.

They will also need to bring their specially-colored tickets to fish in their pre-assigned time slots.

When they do fish, as a word of advice, be aware that one parent (and only one) is allowed to ASSIST a little pre-schooler youngster.

Please notice that key word "ASSIST." A parent can assist the pre-school youngster 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, a few dummies get greedy and bring in the fish while their youngster is pushed aside. Just be forewarned that if you should be tempted to do so, the public address announcers are instructed to call you to the attention of the crowd. Needless to say, those 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 stress for you.

This year, the Kid's Fishing Derby volunteer chairman is Tim Leitz and he still needs additional volunteers to assist with the two-day derby.

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

You can sign up for Saturday or Sunday or both days. If you would like to volunteer your services, call Leitz at 265-5814 or email at timndawn84@msn.com.

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. tonight at the Group Pavilion in Lampe Park. Call Tim Leitz (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 Douglas County at the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department at 1327 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville (782-9828) and in Carson City at Aspen Outdoors at 3579 Highway 50 East (884-1464).

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

-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what happens to the rainbow 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. They 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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