by Paul J. Goetz, The Mountain Mail. Photos by Denise Goetz.
Frantz Lake was abuzz with kids and their families as word spread of a girl who caught a 22-inch rainbow trout near the inlet Sunday at the annual Fourth of July Fishing Derby.
The girl, Olivia Turner, 7, of Littleton, caught the biggest trout of the day, and her lunker helped her win the senior division of Longest Fish Caught category.
She said she caught the rainbow on her second cast.
The event started a few minutes earlier with Tyler Kersey, Colorado Parks and Wildlife district manager, giving a rundown of the rules followed by sounding of the start.
About 290 people from Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Minnesota attended the event. Of those, 110 kids registered to fish.
CPW and Collegiate Peaks Chapter of Trout Unlimited sponsored the event.
CPW was on hand to give helpful advice to young anglers and to give fishing rods and reels and some tackle to kids who needed the equipment.
Measuring 32 fish, 29 Trout Unlimited volunteers were on hand not only to measure but to assist in all aspects of fishing.
Prizes were awarded in two categories: “Junior Anglers,” children as old as 6; and “Senior Anglers,” ages 7-13.
First Kid to Catch a Fish in the junior category was Laine Adams, 3, of Howard, who caught his 10.75-inch trout at 2 minutes, 7 seconds. In the senior category Creede Phillips, 13, of Salida caught a 113/4-inch trout at 1:30.
The Longest Fish Caught in the junior category went to Caleb Grey, 5, of Ablilene, Texas, who hooked and landed a 12.75-inch trout. In the senior category, Olivia Turner caught the biggest trout of the day at 22 inches long.
The Youngest to Catch a Fish went to Lily Kolecki, 4, of Nathrop, who landed a 10.5inch trout.
Most Interesting catch of the day went to Elii Martin, 12, of Salida, who hooked a rubber boot and a 10.5-inch hook disgorger.
The Monroe family, including Costa, 6, Gabriel, 2, and Oliver, 12, traveled the farthest, from Washington, D.C. – that’s 1,760 miles.
Typically, Trout Unlimited volunteers serve hot dogs, chips and soda pop to those who attend, but this year was different. They also usually give away a T-shirt to contestants.
Organizer and TU member Henry Klaiman said the fresh water conservancy organization thought hard about serving something different this year to keep the derby-goers safe.
In the end they decided to give green bags printed with the Trout Unlimited organization logo instead of T-shirts. Inside the bag were smaller bags of snacks such as chips, cookies and boxes of raisins, instead of hot dogs. They also gave away cold soda pop.
Everyone had to adapt this year, Klaiman said. For example, burritos were served during the FIBArk pancake breakfast instead of the traditional flapjacks.
Some of these new things might stick, Klaiman said. With the T-shirts organizers have to think about how many of each size to order. With bags, there is no worry as to size.
While derby-goers were waiting for results, Karen Dils led everyone in a game of heads and tails.