Grand Prize Drawing winner Andrew Garcia celebrates his Lifetime Fishing License with Madera City Councilman Donald Holley.
On Saturday, March 15, Trout Unlimited sponsored the second annual San Joaquin River Fishing Derby. The Fishing Derby was wildly successful, attracting more than 350 participants on a fine spring day.
The Fishing Derby is a not-too-serious competition to catch the biggest bass and trout at Sycamore Island park, one of the many excellent places along the San Joaquin River near Fresno, California, where people can recreate.
“The 2014 San Joaquin River Fishing Derby was a tremendous success,” said event organizer Steve Thao, San Joaquin Valley Outreach Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “We exceeded our goals for participation, people caught some very nice trout and bass, and everyone had a great time.”
Madera County Supervisor Max Rodriguez and Madera City Councilman Donald Holley turned out for the fun. Holley and leading Fresno fishing guide Roger George teamed up to draw the Grand Prize winning ticket for a lifetime fishing license at the end of the festivities.
Thao said the Fishing Derby was started to help people learn about the variety of excellent recreational opportunities provided by the San Joaquin River near Fresno, especially for angling. “Many people don’t know that the San Joaquin River Restoration Program is improving and expanding fishing opportunities along the river,” said Thao. “We want to help people connect to the river and appreciate the many benefits the restoration effort is bringing to local communities.”
“There’s no better ‘family time’ than doing a little fishing with your kids,” added Thao. Many families participated in this year’s Derby, and a local Fresno youth won the Grand Prize Drawing.
The Fishing Derby was sponsored by the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the San Joaquin River Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the San Joaquin River Partnership, in addition to Trout Unlimited. The Parkway and Conservation Trust donated annual passes, canoe trips and scholarships to its acclaimed River Camp as prizes, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked trout for the event and manned stations around Sycamore Island where Derby participants could measure their fish.
A 20-inch largemouth bass was the biggest catch of the day, while a 14.5 inch trout took the prize for biggest trout.
The Fresno Bee covered the Fishing Derby (links below):