By Ann and Henry Klaiman

By best recollections, this was the 28th Annual July 4th Kids Fishing Derby. It felt good to be back, since no derby was held in 2020. Five CPW staff members and 29 chapter members– which may be a record– showed up to help register kids, serve snacks, measure fish caught, and assist with handling/releasing fish. Colorado Parks & Wildlife stocked Frantz Lake for the derby. The event is for kids 13 and younger and is free. Big thanks to all our volunteers for helping the morning run smoothly and making it a special memory for so many families.

110 kids registered to fish and 290 people, total, dispersed around Frantz Lake for the four-hour event. The lake is on County Road 160 just outside Salida. Registered kids represented eight different states: Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington DC, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Minnesota.

In lieu of the traditional hotdog lunch, due to COVID concerns, participants and their families received an assortment of prepackaged snacks, including raisins, Goldfish, chips, and peanut butter crackers. CPW staff gave away free rods and reels. In lieu of the traditional T-shirt souvenir, participants received a green canvas tote bag emblazoned with a blue CPC logo.

While waiting for derby results to be tabulated and announced, TU member Karen Dils ran a session of Heads-N-Tails for an enthusiastic crowd, and the winner received a first-aid kit.

In 60 minutes of timed derby fishing, 32 fish were caught and measured. Each of the winners listed below received a camping lantern as their prize. The outstanding effort of the day clearly was by Olivia Turner, who caught the longest fish of the day– a 22” rainbow trout. A fish of that length probably hasn’t been recorded before in derby history.

And the winners are:

JUNIOR ANGLERS (ages to six years)
First Kid to Catch a Fish: Laine Adams, at 2:07 elapsed minutes, a 10.75″ trout. (Boy, age 3, Howard, CO)
Longest Fish Caught: Caleb Grey, a 12.75″ trout. (Boy, age 5, Abilene, TX)
Youngest to Catch a Fish: Lily Kolecki, age 4, a 10.5″ trout. (Girl, Nathrop, CO)

SENIOR ANGLERS (ages 7 to 13 years)
First Kid to Catch a Fish: Creede Phillips, at 1:30 elapsed minutes (Boy, age 13, Salida, CO)
Longest Fish Caught: Olivia Turner, a 22″ trout. (Girl, age 7, Littleton, CO)

A Rubber Boot and 10.5″ Hook Disgorger: Elii (two i’s) Martin. (Boy, age 12, Salida, CO)

The Monroe Family: Costa, Gabriel, and Oliver, from Washington, D.C. (1760 miles)

While some changes implemented this year were COVID-driven, some may work well for future derbies, like the snack bags. Also, the addition of Heads-N-Tails for adults and kids was fun, and may be included again. Members’ input would be welcome!