Fishing Derby draws families to Jennings Park

MARYSVILLE — Jennings Park drew an estimated 500 children, and almost as many parents, for the annual free Fishing Derby presented by the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club, the city of Marysville's Parks and Recreation Department, and the Marysville Kiwanis Club on Saturday, May 4.

John Martinez, owner of John's Sporting Goods in Everett, noted that he and city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew had started the Fishing Derby for their own children roughly two decades ago.

"It's grown just about every year since," said Martinez, who explained that the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club's 100 loaner rods and reels circulated quickly through the day's attendees, thanks to the numbers and sizes of trout in the stocked pond. "A few years ago, we had about 1,200 fish for each Fishing Derby, but this year, there were at least 3,000 fish, more than a lot of local lakes. That's good for the local community, because it means this pond will be good for fishing for the next week or two."

Martinez credited the Trout Lodge with supplying larger triploid trout this year, which yielded a seven pound catch for as least one young fisherman.

Tulalip's Saffy Schweitzer was looking forward to having her three big fish smoked for dinner that evening.

"My first favorite thing is fishing, and my second favorite thing is eating fish," said 10-year-old Saffy Schweitzer.

Saffy's dad, Evan Schweitzer, noted that the pond was closed for construction the last time they visited Jennings Park, so he was surprised and gratified to hear about the Fishing Derby on the day of the event from his next-door neighbor.

"I asked him, 'Where'd you get those fish?'" Evan Schweitzer said. "When he told me, I was like, 'We're there,'" he laughed.

For Marysville fathers and sons like Stephen and Michael Griffin, the Fishing Derby was conveniently located only a couple of blocks from their house, while Charles and Feanette Swanson got to spend time with their grandchildren.

"The kids enjoy being out here, and so do grandma and grandpa," Justine Swanson said of her parents, Charles and Feanette. "I think grandpa is getting the best workout from this out of anyone here. He's just jumping from one kid to the next, going down the line," she laughed.

City of Marysville Parks Maintenance Manager Mike Robinson touted the day's haul of 500 pounds of food and $50 in cash for the Marysville Community Food Bank.

"We usually generate about 1,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank during the Easter Egg Hunt, so 500 pounds is good for this event," Robinson said. "Everybody really enjoyed the new pond, and the weather cooperated beautifully, which it hasn't always done in the past."

Penny Ploeger of the Marysville Kiwanis Club estimated they served up 350 plates of pancake breakfasts that morning, with the aid of about a dozen student members of the Kiwanis Key Club.

"They were a great help," Ploeger said of the Key Club.

The Evergreen Steelhead and Salmon Club's next kids fishing event will take place at the Twin Lakes County Park in Smokey Point from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. For more information, log onto

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