By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
With warmer weather on the horizon, it is nearly time for people to break out the fishing poles and tackle boxes for the fishing season, and an upcoming event will provide the opportunity to do just that.
Trout Derby 2017 will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at Meade State Park and Lake. There are two classes for people to participate in, which are 15 years old and younger, and then the adult class is 16 years old and older. The fees are $10 for adults and $5 for children 15 and younger. All the money raised by this event goes toward the annual OK Kids’ Day, which is planned for May 6, according to Alex Goossen, Meade State Park manager.
“It’s going to be a good day of fun, the whole day is about going around trying to catch trout and enjoy fishing,” Goossen said. “The Friends Organization is sponsoring two fish tagged out of the lake, and both of them caught are worth $50 on the day of the event. Also, we’ll have the concession stand open and a meal available, and on the park side, we also kind of consider this our park’s open house and a way for people to get in and purchase their state fishing and hunting permits and state park permits before they go up April 1.”
Besides the tagged fish, there will also be prizes given for biggest fish, smallest fish and smallest stringer for the adult category, and biggest fish and smallest fish for the youth category. There will also be fishing caps given out to the first 50 participants who register. Overall, Goossen said he is excited for this year’s event.
“I’m always excited to see the number of people who come out and the demographics of who all comes out,” Goossen said. “I like seeing groups of people come out like families, it’s fun to make the rounds and see how everyone’s doing and give them a chance to catch some fish. Also, when it comes time to do the weigh-in, it’s fun to see the size of the fish and what all we have in there. Last year, the largest trout I weighed was nine pounds. And of course we hope the weather’s really nice and if that happens, I expect we’ll have a great turnout. I also hope everyone who comes out will have a great time while fishing.”
This is only the third year for the event, and Goossen said he sees a good future for the event.
“As time goes by, we try and be a little more proficient about running the event, and we always work to make it all go smoother,” Goossen said. “This is our third year doing this event, so we haven’t had it very long, but we keep hoping every year will be a little better and a little better. Last year, the weather was a little cool and rainy, so turnout was down a little, but I’m hoping this year will improve and we’ll have a good turnout. I’d like to see the event continue to grow, and obviously while I like the park as a whole (being park manager), we’re constantly trying to think outside the box and come up with new activities, and we always hope the current activities we have will continue to grow, and our new activities will help sponsor more activities and help us branch out.”