By Douglas W. Motley
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9624 and its Auxiliary, both based in Cedarpines Park, will once again be hosting their annual trout derby on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Lake Gregory Regional Park.
This year’s event, which has been renamed the Jeff Yoder Memorial Trout Derby, is dedicated to the memory of Auxiliary Member, Jeff Yoder, who passed away earlier this year. Yoder, a long-time Crestline resident, had been the trout derby organizer and was always available to teach children how to fish.
The annual trout derby, which has been ongoing for 27 years, begins at 7 a.m., with trophies and ribbons awarded at 2 p.m. According to current VFW Commander Joe Aquino, Sept. 3 is “California Free Day,” which means no California fishing license is necessary for this event. However, there is a $20 entry fee, free parking at Leisure Shores, which is adjacent to the San Moritz Lodge, and at the bait and tackle shop.
Tickets for the trout derby are available at Lake Drive Ace Hardware, the Crestline 7-Eleven Store, Goodwin & Son’s Market, the Lake Gregory North Shore office and the bait and tackle shop.
Aquino said participants will be able to fish anywhere in the fishing area they like, around the lake. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently planted trout in Lake Gregory, so there will be no shortage of trout to catch.
“The size and weight of trout that are caught will not be a factor in determining the winners,” Aquino said, adding, “What does count is the length of the fish.”
There are three categories of contestants: Ages 7-10, 11-16 and 17-adult. The first-place winner in the 17-adult category is a trophy and a check for $500. The second-place winner will receive a ribbon and a check for $250. Third place will receive a ribbon and a check for $100. In the 11-16 age group, first place is a trophy and a check for $300; the second-place prize is a ribbon and a check for $150, while the third-place winner will get a ribbon and a check for $75. As for the 7-10 age category, the first-place winner will receive a trophy, along with a check for $150, second place will get a ribbon and a check for $75, and the third-place winner will receive a ribbon and a check for $50.
All awards will be presented near the bait and tackle shop at 2 p.m. Winners must be present to receive their awards.