Bald Eagle

On Centre: Bald Eagle Area | Tots hope for hot spot at Port Matilda Children’s Fishing Derby

Every year for a few hours along Bald Eagle Creek, the tricky business of hooking a trout becomes child’s play.

The 30th Port Matilda Children’s Fishing Derby is set for April 26 in the Port Matilda Community Park. Last year, the free event drew about 250 participants from 18 counties, plus their families and friends crowding into the park as spectators.

This year’s derby will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with registration at the park during the hour before the start.

Trophies will be awarded for the three longest fish caught by anglers in each of five age categories: 4-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-15. All trophy winners also will receive a new rod and reel.

In addition, derby organizers will hold raffles with chances for $1 and 50 cents, awarding items throughout the event. About 75 organizations and individuals donated to the raffles and provided prizes such as free mounts for the largest fish in the 4-6 and 7-15 age ranges.

Raffle funds help the Bald Eagle Sportsmen’s Club raise and feed the trout placed in the creek for the derby.

Lucky anglers also are eligible for state Fish and Boat Commission junior angler citation awards if their fish meet weight qualifications. All participants get a commission certificate for landing their first catch of the day.

But the fishing fun doesn’t stop with the derby’s end.

Under a permit from the commission, the club reserves the derby waters to anglers 12 and under for seven days.

“People seem to like it because it keeps the adults out of there,” said George Jackson, derby co-chairman. “We put a lot of nice fish in there.”

During the derby and the aftermath, adults may assist children by baiting their hooks or netting fish, though no wading is allowed. Assistants do not need a state fishing license.

For more information, contact Jackson at 692-4890 or Co-chairman Ted Enos at 692-8514.

Jackson said over the years, local youth have told him that the derby helped introduce them to fishing.

“That makes you feel a little better about all your work,” he said.

Rabies clinic offered

Take your best shot at protecting a pet by stopping by the Port Matilda EMS on May 3.

A rabies vaccination clinic sponsored by Town and Country Animal Hospital in Warriors Mark will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. at the station.

The initial cost is $11, and then $10 for each additional animal per owner. All animals must be leashed or in carriers.