The Lassen Sportsmen’s Club, along with official co-sponsors the city of Susanville, Lassen County and the Susanville Indian Rancheria Business Council, present the 30th annual Junior Fishing Derby from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20.
This year’s derby is dedicated to the memory of long-time supporter Ernie Gorbet (1936-2018).
The derby, held the weekend before the opening of fishing season on the Susan River, enjoys a special dispensation from the state to hold the event. The free event is open to children between the ages of 2 and 15 who compete for a variety of prizes in two age groups based on the largest fish and the prestigious Sportsmanship Award.
Parents may help the youngsters catch a fish, but wardens will be on duty to ensure the kids are doing the fishing, not the adults.
Over three decades, the Junior Fishing Derby has become an important event strongly supported by the local business community.
More than 4,000 pounds of fish of all sizes are planted in the Susan River and Piute Creek days before the derby.
Fish planting sponsors include donations from the Lassen County Board of Supervisors discretionary fund, the Susanville City Council, the Susanville Indian Rancheria Tribal Business Council and Diamond Mountain Casino, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, C&S Waste Solutions, Jackson Service Center, Bill Muttera State Farm, California Correctional Peace Officers Association-California Correctional Center, Pregill Insurance and Sportsmen Warehouse.
Registration for the event begins at 5 a.m. and ends at 9 a.m., and between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m. the young fisher folk are served a free breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, donuts, fruit, hot chocolate, juice and coffee. Susanville Supermarket, Morning Glory Dairy and the employees of Walmart provide the breakfast. Adults may enjoy breakfast, too, for a small fee.
But breakfast isn’t the only free meal offered to the children. From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. they can enjoy a free lunch provided by Frosty Mill, Alpine Beverage, Rainbow Bread, Burger King, Grocery Outlet and Diamond Mountain Mini Mart.
The derby officially ends at 3 p.m., and participants should be off the river by 2:45 p.m. and in the check-in line by 3 p.m.
The business community also steps forward to provide prizes for the children.
Boys and girls between the ages 2 and 5 who catch the biggest three fish will win bicycles from Tri-Counties Bank, rods and reels from Western Nevada Supply and tackle boxes from Larry’s Spirit Gas.
Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 15 who catch the biggest three fish will win bicycles from Billington Ace Hardware, rods and reels from Western Nevada Supply and tackle boxes from Larry’s Spirit Gas.
The Dieter family provides the prize for the 2-5 Sportsmanship Award and Bill Kauffman provides the prize for the 6-15 Sportsmanship Award.
Participants need not be present to win.
Thank you to all the businesses and community members who support the derby.
And to all the kids — we hope you reel in a lunker!