Fishing derby at Jennings Park draws crowds in spite of high water

Marysville's Oliver Norman, 11, shows off his third catch of the day at the May 5 fishing derby at Jennings Park, but as with the previous two, he would release this fish so that younger fishers could catch it for themselves.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — High water levels at the pond at Jennings Park meant that families looking to take part in the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club's annual fishing derby on Saturday, May 5, had to perch precariously on the steep slopes of only one side of the pond, since the other side was flooded out.

That didn't stop the three-hour event from attracting an average of 140 attendees per hour, for an estimated total of more than 500, according to Buz Bauman of the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club.

"We spent about $1,950 on 2,500 fish, including some nine-pounders," said Jim Brauch of the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club.

"We had plenty of tangled lines as kids cast them out," Bauman laughed, as event coordinator Jack Blair noted that the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club lent out 88 rods during those three hours.

The fishing derby proved fruitful for community groups such as the Marysville Community Food Bank, which collected at least 250 pounds of food and $45 in cash according to city of Marysville Athletic Coordinator Dave Hall, and the Marysville Kiwanis Club, which served up about 250 pancake breakfasts ranging from $3 to $5 each according to Marysville Kiwanis Treasurer Mike Ferri.

For the youngsters and adults who stood on the banks of the pond, the experience itself was rewarding enough, even if they weren't too keen on eating their catches.

"I don't like fish," said 6-year-old Josiah Moore of Marysville, who nonetheless returned to Jennings Park for a second year in the fishing derby. "He's wiggling in my hands," Josiah giggled, as his catch tried to squirm away.

"Josiah likes fish sticks, but not fish," laughed his dad, Joe Moore. Josiah's mom, Carrie Driscoll, hoped he'd acquire the taste when they cooked his catch on foil with lemon that night.

While 8-year-old Coen Richardson loves fish dinners, 11-year-old fellow Marysville resident Oliver Norman released all three of the fish he caught.

"It's just a good hobby," Norman said. "It's something to do when I'm not playing sports."

"This is a good place for kids to practice fishing," said Sarah Richardson, Coen's mom. "It's not dangerous, although this is the first year that it's been this muddy," she laughed.

Dave Crockett and his 5-year-old daughter Abby made the trek from Arlington for a second year to take part in the fishing derby, which made a satisfying meal for her but not so much for the rest of the family.

"The rest of us got one little taste of her fish last year," laughed Andrea Blakey, Abby's grandma. "Otherwise, she ate the whole thing."

The Twin Lakes County Park in Smokey Point will serve as the site for the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club's next kids' fishing event on Saturday, May 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 5-14.

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