Fishing derby is a great activity for youngsters |

Fishing derby is a great activity for youngsters

Each year the annual Kids Fishing Derby is promoted by me in this column. This year promises to be no different, but if I may, I would like to interject an observation that I have made over the course of many years.

Since Bob Tilton founded this derby when he was the owner of Truckee Sports and Awards in the 1980s, this derby has become one of the high points of youth activities in our region. Tilton began this derby with the hope that getting youth interested in fishing would give them an avenue in which to channel their energies rather than getting into trouble. He and his family are still one of the main sponsors of this great event, along with the Nevada County Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Truckee Noon Rotary.

Having had the opportunity to know many of the children involved in the sport, I have to say that those who have continued to pursue fishing have turned into some pretty fine young people. Fishing is a great way for families to connect.

This year, the 17th annual Kids Fishing Derby will take place at the Donner Memorial State Park pond, beyond the Holiday Inn Express, Madigan’s, and the Chevron and 76 stations on Coldstream Road on Saturday, July 16. The official hours of the event are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The sponsors request that no fishing be done in the pond prior to the 9 a.m. start.

The event is free to children 12 and under. Sponsors ask that you sign up at Long’s Drugs or Mountain Hardware and Sports in advance so that they can get an idea of how many children to expect so they can have an adequate number of prizes.

Children will need to have their own tackle in order to fish. Unfortunately, some children have shown up without gear and there has been none for them to use.

Jim Dill, Truckee Noon Rotary chairman of the event, says that volunteers are also needed to help out. If you know how to fish, you can be of great assistance in helping some of the people that are neophytes to the sport. Come and volunteer four hours of your time. It is great, and the families and kids are very appreciative!

Budget cutbacks at the California State Department of Fish and Game have left hatcheries with little money for their normal put and take stocking. If you are a regular to roadside waters, you have probably noticed that the plant trucks have not been seen as frequently this year. To their credit, the Department of Fish and Game has come through again this year with fish for the Derby. These fish were secured through the efforts of Ray Butler of the Nevada County Fish and Wildlife Commission and local Department of Fish and Game biologist John Hiscox.

Hiscox warns that this is a very tenuous situation because of the budget cuts at the state level. With more budget issues looming at the state level, next year will be no different. Let’s hope that sound decision-making prevails regarding derbies such as Truckee’s.

The fish that are supplied by the Nevada County Fish and Wildlife Commission are augmented by a load of trophy fish purchased by the Truckee Noon Rotary and the Tilton family. Jim Dill, the chairman of the event for the Truckee Noon Rotary, tells me that fish up to eight pounds were put in last year and should be again this year.

Take the time to thank the various sponsors of this great community event for your children. Some of those whose involvement is crucial are Bob Tilton and his family, Jaime Lyle (a staunch supporter of this event), the stores mentioned earlier (Long’s and Mountain Hardware) and the Truckee Noon Rotary.

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident. “Gone Fishin'” appears weekly in the Sierra Sun during fishing season.

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