MOUNDRIDGE — Young anglers can fish for prizes this weekend in Moundridge.
The 16th Annual Youth Fishing Derby will be held Saturday in William P. Pack Memorial Park, located at the intersection of Wollmann and Koehn streets in Moundridge.
Moundridge Street and Wastewater Supervisor Mike Strausz has organized the fishing derby for the past 15 years, providing an opportunity for older teenagers or adults to teach young children how to fish.
"Even some of the kids that fished in the derby when they were little, they show up with cousins, nephews and nieces, so they must have enjoyed it," Strausz said.
Sponsored by the Moundridge Chamber of Commerce and the City of Moundridge, the event is for children in preschool through sixth grade.
"Nobody's too young," Strausz said. "We don't stop anybody on the younger end, as long as they're paying attention."
Preschool through first grade students start at 9 a.m., second and third grade students start at 10:05 a.m. and fourth through sixth grade students start at 11:20 a.m.
"As the morning progresses, the kids get older and the times get longer," Strausz said.
The park's pond is stocked with various kinds of fish.
"The city stocks it every year. We stock it with channel catfish and we usually put in a hybrid bluegill," Strausz noted. "There's also black bass and grass carp."
As fish are caught, they will be weighed, measured and recorded by an official before being released.
Participants may have up to two poles.
Awards will be given in each age category for the most fish caught, with a grand prize awarded for the biggest fish caught during the fishing derby.
"Every year is different," Strausz said. "There's been a few years when the fish aren't biting or someone catches a turtle and tries to get me to judge it."
Seeing families spend time together outdoors and encouraging a love of fishing is the motivation behind holding the derby each year, Strausz said. He has seen a grandfather teaching their grandchild how to bait a hook — along with other memorable incidents.
"We had one year where the pole got ripped out of a kid's hand and dad had to go into the pond to retrieve it," Strausz chuckled.
Registration forms can be picked up and returned to the city office at 225 S. Christian Ave. in Moundridge. There is no registration fee, and the derby is open to any child who want to participate, not just Moundridge residents, Strausz noted.
Awards and fishing-related prizes will be given out at 12:30 p.m. at the shelter house in the park.
"Everybody leaves with something," Strausz said.
Ice cream bars will also be given out to the fishing derby participants, courtesy of the Moundridge Food Market.