Hooked on fishing

Annual Kids Fishing Derby slated for June 23

T-R FILE PHOTO— The annual Kids Fishing Derby will take place June 23 from 9 a.m. to noon at Lake Woodmere at Riverside Cemetery. Free and open to the public, kids of all ages have the chance to earn prizes. A limited supply of bait and tackle will be available.

Cultivating a passion for the Great Outdoors in a safe, family-friendly setting is the main objective of the yearly Kids Fishing Derby, held at Riverside Cemetery’s Lake Woodmere. Co-sponsored by the cemetery and the Marshall County Izaak Walton League, the derby will take place from 9 a.m. to noon June 23. Free and open to the public, participants are asked to bring their own bait and tackle, as only a limited supply will be provided.

“It started several years ago when the cemetery contacted us about how Lake Woodmere was overloaded with small fish, so we were going to go in with nets, but then someone had the idea to hold a kids fishing day for kids to fish instead,” said League President Chuck Strobbe.

“We get quite a crowd around the lake,” said Dorie Tammen, who serves as general manager of the cemetery. “(The league) is big on conservation and wildlife, and they pretty much direct the derby. It’s fun for us because it helps thin down the fish population, and we like showing people what a beautiful place Riverside is.”

The lake is teaming with bullheads.

“Everyone catches something. No kid goes away disappointed,” said Pamela Strobbe, who sits on the league’s board. “It’s a good learning experience for the kids.”

Youth ages toddler through junior high and high school can participate. Those 16 years old or younger do not need a fishing license.

“One year I watched a girl catch 100 fish. Every time she cast a line, she caught a fish,” Chuck said.

Beverages and hot dogs will be available through a freewill donation.

“We never want this to be an expensive event,” Tammen said.

Kids can compete for the chance to win fishing-related prizes by catching the largest and smallest fish, with boys competing one category, and girls in another. Door prizes will also be given out.

In past years, the size of the largest bullhead came in at 12.8 ounces, with many weighing 7-10 ounces. The smallest bullheads come in at around 0.25 ounces each, on average.

No fishing experience is necessary.

“You don’t have to worry about baiting the hook or taking a fish off the hook — there will be [league members] around to help with that,” Pamela said.

Several hundred people are expected to attend the derby.

The Izaak Walton League was founded in 1922 and is one of the country’s oldest conservation organizations with a network of more than 250 local chapters nationwide. The Marshall County League is located south of Marshalltown at 2601 Smith Avenue, consisting of 82 acres of land. To learn more about the league, call 641-751-1121. Riverside Cemetery may be contacted at 641-753-7891.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com