Bald Eagle

On Centre | Bald Eagle Area: Reeling in young anglers at Port Matilda Community Park

There are few things more exciting than landing a fish.

I remember when I was maybe 4 or 5 and I caught more fish with my first rod and reel — a little Zebco complete with a picture of Snoopy — than my cousin, who had moved on to an adult model.

Then again, I usually had a good time with my line in the water whether I caught anything or not. The fish seemed harder to catch as the years went along and I traded Snoopy for a Shakespeare Ugly Stik.

There were still a lot of good times, though, first with high school friends and in more recent years, when a Marine buddy and I reunited a few times for the first day of trout season.

Youth anglers will get the chance to feel that excitement and make some memories Saturday at the 31st annual Children’s Fishing Derby at Port Matilda Community Park.

The event is open to anyone ages 4 to 15 and is free to enter. The event has drawn 250 to 350 children from almost 20 counties in years past, derby co-chairman George Jackson said.

“It’s a pretty big derby,” Jackson said, “one of the best in central Pennsylvania.”

Participants will fish along the portion of Bald Eagle Creek that runs through the park, which will be stocked Friday with 1,300 rainbow, brook, brown and golden rainbow trout, Jackson said.

Boys and girls must register at the park between 8 and 9 a.m. before they can hit the water from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jackson said.

Youth are broken into five age groups, and prizes are given to three kids from each, based on the total length of the fish they catch. Each of the 15 is given a new rod and reel, plus a bag full of goods donated by local businesses.

A trophy will also be awarded to whoever catches the heaviest fish, and there will be refreshments, raffles and other prizes throughout the day.

After the event ends Saturday, Jackson said, fishing at the park will be closed for a week to anyone older than 12.

A different type of competition will go on in Milesburg the day after the derby, and bingo is the name-o.

Multi-Vendor Bingo is coming to the Milesburg Community Center on Sunday, and all proceeds will benefit Relay For Life. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and games start at 2, with a total of 20 being played. Prizes include name brands like Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay and others. There will also be raffles and refreshments.

Tickets can be bought at the door for $25 or in advance for $20. To buy tickets early, call 357-5852.