Kids' fishing derby Saturday at Regional Park

By: J.D. Richey Journal, Outdoors Columnist
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OK, this one’s for the budding little Skeet Reeses out there. The Kids’ Fish Derby takes place Saturday at Regional Park, and while it may not be quite as big as the Bass Master’s Classic, it’s a ton of fun and truly an Auburn institution that’s not to be missed. If you’re 15 or younger, get your parents up early Saturday morning and have ‘em drive you to the pond at Regional, which will be teeming with freshly-planted rainbow trout. While first cast is at 5:30 (yes, mom and dad – that’s a.m.), you’ll probably want to get there about a half hour before that to make sure you get a spot. In the past few years, over 500 kids have turned out for the Derby. While the event is mainly for fun and the promotion of good sportsmanship, you will have a chance to win some cool prizes – trophies will be awarded for the heaviest fish (boy and girl) and heaviest limit for both boys and girls. In addition, there will be all the stuff kids love like hot chocolate, doughnuts, soft drinks, hot dogs and cool prizes. And the best part is everything is free! This is the 62nd year that the Placer Sportsmen have put on the Derby (with help from Raley’s, ARD, Auburn Trophies, Place Fish & Game Commission, CHP and many other individuals and businesses). It’s got a great community feel to it – and kinda reminds you why you live in a small town in the first place. Trust me, it’s a fantastic event — even if you’re not into the fishing part. By the way, all you moms and dads who don’t know a Rooster Tail from a Hula Popper, bring the kids anyway. There will be plenty of folks around willing to help with knots and baiting up — and there’s always tackle available to be loaned out to kids without their own gear. Okay kiddies, so you ready for some tips from ol’ Uncle JD here, none other than the winner of the first limit trophy in 1985? I’d start off at first light with either a size 6 Panther Martin spinner with a silver blade and yellow body with red spots or a ¼-ounce orange Kastmaster. Use a light spinning rod with fresh 4-pound line so you can get maximum casting distance. You’ll do well if you can reach the middle of the pond, where the fish will see fewer lures. At some point in the first couple hours, the early morning bite is sure to wear off and the trout will get tired of seeing hundreds of lures whiz by their faces. At that point, I’d switch to dunking bait like inflated nightcrawlers or Power Bait fished on a sliding sinker rig. Cut off your lure (or have mom or dad do it) and then slide a ¼-ounce egg sinker up your line and then tie a barrel swivel to the end. To the other eye of the swivel, tie on an 18- to 24-inch section of 4-pound line and either a No. 6-8 baitholder hook (for worms) or a No. 10-12 gold treble hook if you’re using dough bait. Toss the rig out into open water past the weed line and wait for a good bite or two. To get to Regional Park from downtown Auburn, take Highway 49 out past Auburn Faith Hospital and hang a left on Quartz Drive and make a quick right on Park Drive and follow it around – the lake’s on your right. The derby runs until 10:30 a.m. For more info or donations, call (530) 885-1831 or (916) 772-0431. J.D. Richey is a 1986 Placer High graduate, and his outdoors pieces have been published nationally. He can be found on the Web at