Big turnout for kids fishing derby

Sarah Somers – A pair of youngsters show off their big catches during the annual kids fishing derby at Echo Canyon State Park.

The best of fishermen don’t typically seek out a rainy day to hit the water, but heavy rain didn’t stop a large crowd from attending the annual kids fishing derby held at Echo Canyon State Park.  Despite the downpour of rain, over 180 kids and over 100 adults signed up to fish at the 2016 fishing derby on Saturday.

This event is held annually as part of the statewide free fishing day and grows in participation each year.  Ben Johnson, park ranger, reported this to be the 21st year for Echo Canyon State Park to host the event, with a vast increase in participation from only 12 in 1996.  Anglers toughed through the rain and weather until about 11 a.m. when they gathered for a fish weigh-in, prizes, raffles, and a delicious lunch of ribs and baked beans.

The derby always releases tagged fish prior to the event with attached winnings of $10,000 and $5,000 in scholarships, and smaller cash prizes. These fish weren’t caught at the 2016 derby, but many youngsters caught trout to be weighed in for the biggest fish competition, where they were rewarded with the likes of expensive fishing gear and gift cards, making many happy and proud young anglers.  The raffle always includes exciting prizes, and this year was no different with float tubes, kayaks, paddle boards, drones, Las Vegas show tickets, camping and fishing gear, and a fishing boat up for grabs.  Money earned from the raffle is used to support the fishing derby.

Alongside the raffle, Johnson had fun games where kids and adults can win exciting prizes.  He thanked many for the success of the 2016 derby, and stated it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of many businesses and individuals who contribute prizes, donations and their time.  Lincoln County is incredibly fortunate to have a fun-filled event for kids and adults to enjoy each year!