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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked Morgan Lake with 1,000 trout this week along with an additonal 250 trophy trout. The Morgan Lake fishing derby has three age groups: 6 and younger, 7-10 and 11-16.
Morgan Lake kicks off spring with fishing derby
by CASEY KELLAS / The Observer
MORGAN LAKE — Local youths who are looking to jumpstart spring will have an opportunity Saturday as the annual La Grande Optimist Club/Bi-Mart Morgan Lake Fishing Derby returns for another year.
The event runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The age groups are once again 6 and younger, 7 to 10 and 11-16.
No registration is required, although participants are encouraged to stop by the weigh-in area to pick up a packet about the event.
According to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Tim Bailey, Morgan Lake has been stocked with 1,000 fish this week along with an additional 250 one-pound “trophy” trout.
Bailey said that last year’s fingerlings that were put in the lake in May should now be up to 10 to 12 inches in length.
He added that Morgan Lake has plenty of hot spots for youth to get in on the catching action Saturday.
“Anywhere is good,” Bailey said. “The dam on the southwest side of the lake is always pretty good. The floating dock on the west side is popular, too.”
While trout are the most common fish caught at Morgan Lake, catfish have been making an appearance at the derby in recent years.
Last year, the winners of all three age divisions claimed the top spot with catfish weighing between 1 pound, 6.8 ounces and 1 pound, 8.6 ounces.
Catfish were never stocked in Morgan Lake, but it is believed that they were introduced by someone who planted them.
Nonetheless, those are the fish that can take a youngster to the top of his or her division.
Bailey said other popular spots for landing fish are the fixed piers on the south side, among others.
“The southern shore is where most people fish up there,” Bailey said. “There are just a lot of good access spots along there.”
The event, which started at least 30 years ago, is one of the most popular youth angling events in Northeast Oregon, with between 100 and 150 people participating each year.
A total of 162 youths competed in the derby last year.