EL CENTRO – Hundreds of young anglers are expected to participate in the 19th annual Imperial Valley Junior Trout Fishing Derby on March 22 at Sunbeam Lake.
The Kiwanis Club of El Centro, in concert with the Imperial County Fish & Game Commission and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, is bringing the event back for another year to provide the public with a day of wholesome outdoor fun.
Aside from that, organizers want to give those children who might never have had an opportunity to fish and to instill a sense of fiscal accountability in the youth.
“We moved it back a little bit so that it was clear of the (California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta),” derby chairman Jason Jackson said. “We had a lot of kids that wanted to go but were tied up with the fair, with 4-H and other FFA organizations.”
In the past, the derby has taken place earlier in the year, as trout tend to do better in colder water, but strings were pulled and exceptions made after Kiwanis received calls from parents who wanted to involve their kids, but not at the expense of their fair responsibilities.
“It was certainly a trial moving it so far back,” Jackson admitted, “and there’s also a possibility of moving it up next year to January so that we’re still clear of the fair and a lot of those other activities when we push (the derby) this far out, we jeopardize the fish.”
The event typically sees anywhere between 300 and 500 participants, with about 350 showing up in 2013. Jackson expects this year’s turnout to be back up around the 500s.
Admission is free, with registration opening at 7 a.m. at Sunbeam. As soon as an angler is registered, he or she is free to pick a spot along the three-mile shoreline and start fishing, up until the cutoff point at 11 a.m.