The Eatonville Lions Club's annual Kids Fishing Derby will start bright and early this Saturday at 6 a.m. at Smallwood Park in Eatonville.
Participants will be trying to catch a whopper – or at least something to remember and take a picture with. They'll also have a chance at winning prizes – including a bicycle – for the biggest fish. And everyone will be treated to free pancakes and cocoa.
The derby will last until 11 a.m.
The same day (April 22) of the Eatonville derby is also the official opening day of the lowland lakes fishing season statewide. Hundreds of lakes have been stocked with 16 million trout and kokanee for the six-month season, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), which is sponsoring its own annual fishing derby that runs through Oct. 31. Anglers who catch one of 1,000 tagged fish can claim prizes provided by fishing-license dealers and other sponsors across the state. The total value of prizes is more than $25,000.
A list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby/.
"When I was a kid, I had a difficult time sleeping the night before opening day," said teve Thiesfeld, WDFW's inland fish program manager. "It's so exciting to get out there and fish, and opening weekend is just an excellent time to introduce fishing to kids and beginners."