This is a great example of the quality of life we enjoy in Carson Valley!
The Kid's Fishing Derby in Douglas County, Nevada, is reportedly the nation's largest free fishing derby. It is a wonderful event where kids get a reservation to fish at a specified time in a stocked irrigation ditch that flows through the main park in the county. There is no charge for this exciting experience that occurs annually in the first week of June.
The ditch is blocked off and the U.S. Fish Hatchery stocks it with close to 2,000 fish. The largest this year was 8 pounds. Many are tagged, and if a child catches a tagged fish they get special prizes. There is a prize for the largest fish caught in each of the fishing sessions.
Just for showing up the "fisherkids" get hats, bags, and other neat logo gear. There are hundreds of volunteers that help register, bait, catch and clean the fish. The volunteers are there for the love of the sport of fishing, and with the hopes of introducing the children to the world of fishing. If a child doesn't have a pole they are given loaner poles.
No parents go in the fishing areas - the kids go in and are assisted by the volunteers. The volunteers help them bait their hook, cast, learn the patience to let the fish get the bait, and land it once they are caught. Every child has the opportunity to catch two fish within their time allotment. This year our grandson caught two fish, but lost three - an impetuous eight year old. Of course, his mother, uncles and extended family all fished in the KFD when they were little - it is a community tradition.
The fishing area is divided in age group areas so kids are fishing near others their own age. Ages 3-12 are allowed to participate. The event goes for two days with a steady progression of kids, siblings, parents and grandparents coming with great anticipation and hope that only fishing can lure them in with.
The event has many sponsors and support that make it possible including Raley's Supermarkets, Douglas County Sherrif's Office, Lahonton Fish Hatchery, Nevada Fish and Game, Douglas County Parks and Recreation, and many, many others. It is a heartwarming event that evokes the best of Americana. Catch it some time!