Free fishing derby attracts large crowd

Emily Weaver looked a bit leery of her catch at the 20th annual free fishing derby at Jennings Park on May 3. - Kirk Boxleitner
Emily Weaver looked a bit leery of her catch at the 20th annual free fishing derby at Jennings Park on May 3.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The 20th annual free fishing derby at Jennings Park drew an estimated 1,000 attendees, including children aged 5-12 years and their families, to cast their lines into the stocked pool on Saturday, May 3, in spite of the threat of rain literally hanging over their heads.

“The weather held off, so I can’t complain there,” said Dave Hall, athletic coordinator for the city of Marysville. “The Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club did a great job as always. We had about 800 triploids, weighing one to five pounds each, from the Arlington Fish and Wildlife Hatchery, plus about 1,200 Rainbow trout, some of them seven inches and weighing half a pound each, so all told, we had a total of about 2,000 fish.”

Hall noted that John Martinez, owner of John’s Sporting Goods in Everett, helped city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew start the fishing derby for their own kids two decades ago.  Hall also extended his thanks to the Marysville Kiwanis Club, which served 209 paid breakfasts and 25 free meals, in addition to giving away four bikes.

“As usual, we didn’t see a profit, because we pay for all the food and bikes, and if there is any money left over, we use it for scholarships or children’s projects, like camp scholarships for needy kids, as well as the Marysville Community Food Bank and other community efforts,” said Penny Ploeger of the Marysville Kiwanis Club.

City of Marysville Parks Maintenance Manager Mike Robinson likewise reported receiving $40 in cash and a couple of hundred pounds in non-perishable food donations for the Marysville Community Food Bank that morning, from attendees who were looking forward to cooking up fish dinners they’d caught that same day.

“Last year, we won a fishing pole, so we knew we had to come back,” said Ted Ritz, who was joined by his sons Sean, 8, and Kelly, 10, on May 3. “It’s always a great time, and we’re grateful to the city for putting it on. It’s been all that the boys could talk about the past couple of days. Kelly woke up before anyone else this morning.”

It was 4-year-old Logan Friess’ first time at the fishing derby, and his neighbor’s “miracle bait” seemed to live up to its name.

“I want to fish again,” Logan told his father, Cory Friess, while holding his catch proudly.

The Evergreen Steelhead and Salmon Club’s next kids’ fishing event will take place at the Twin Lakes County Park in Lakewood, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, and will be offered to children aged 5-14 years.

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