GLENOMA — At 9 a.m. Saturday morning — give or take a few minutes, it seemed some watches ran a little faster than others — 167 lines were tossed into the water at Lake Scanewa for the 18th annual Kids Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Lewis County PUD and the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District.
More than 750 rainbow trout, ranging from one-half pound to 10 pounds, were planted by the PUD especially for the derby. The fish were held back from entering the large lake by a series of nets strung across a narrow opening.
Savvy anglers arrived early for the competition and lined up on the shore on either side of the net.
“We figured it out last year when we were here,” said Kevin Thompson, Chehalis, the father of the first-place winner, 8-year-old Shelby Thompson. “All of the big fish are caught near the nets.”
Shelby, who was busy getting her face painted at the end of a long morning’s fishing, nodded in agreement.
Those who weren’t fishing Saturday morning took advantage of the face painting and fish painting booths set up at the entrance to the lakeshore.
Cowlitz Valley Ranger District employees were on hand to lead kids through casting lessons and knot tying demonstrations. Bill Wamsely, Lewis County Noxious Weed Control coordinator, was there to help educate families in the dangers of invasive weeds in local waters and woods.
It was a festive atmosphere at the lake, competitive but friendly.
Jonathon Linder, Randle, who just turned 6 years old on Friday, was the first to haul in his catch at 9:03 a.m.
Monique Ware, 12, of Tacoma, and Beck Weise, 7, of Kirkland, followed within minutes.
“All the Weise’s are getting fish today!” shouted one of the happy anglers.
Gavin Iverson, 5, Chehalis, caught his limit early — a three-fish limit was set for derby day — and, as the angler standing at the top of the leader board for at least the first hour, he and his dad stood by anxiously watching the other young anglers.
“I caught my big trout really quick,” said Gavin.
“The old fashioned way — a bobber and a worm,” said his dad, Trevor Iverson.
Several times throughout the 2-hour derby you could hear the rising excitement buzzing over the crowd of fishing enthusiasts as one angler or another hooked into what looked like the “big one,” only to be followed by the fall of “Awwww” throughout the crowd as the big one got away.
The lesson of the day that was learned by many a disappointed young fisherman: Bring a net to the derby if you want to land a big fish.
More than one 6-plus pounder was lost when the young anglers tried to haul their fish onto the bank using hook and line only.
“The big ones are usually caught more than once,” said event organizer Mike Kohn of the PUD. “They’ll sometimes have five or six hooks in their mouth.”
Trevor Iverson came to the rescue of more than one young angler trying to haul in a large fish with a small hook and a light line without easing a net up under it first.
As Iverson dove down to the bank to help haul up Toledo 14-year-old Beth Demery’s fish, a fish that weighed just 2 ounces less than his own son’s second place fish, he debated — jokingly — his own kindnesses. Demery and her mom were grateful for his gallantry.
Just 25 minutes later, 4-year-old bank mate Payton Hernandez was working to haul in a hawg with the help of Pat Obermire, as his dad, Damian Hernandez, hovered over the pair.
Payton didn’t want to give up his Spiderman pole, not even for a moment, for Obermire to adjust the drag on the line. Payton lost the big one that morning too.
Many a dad was seen hurling line into the waters from a 3-foot long pink Barbie pole. All declined to give their names.
More Fishing at Scanewa
The season just opened on Scanewa Lake on June 1 and many catchables have been released into the waters. A total of 20,000 fish are scheduled to be released into the lake from now until August.
Salmon and steelhead, those in excess of the hatchery needs, are often released into the lake.
The regulations on this lake are too complicated to list here, please check the 2011/2012 Sportfishing Rules Pamphlet for details.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at email@example.com.