Fishing derby returns to Morgan Lake April 28

By Observer Upload April 20, 2012 12:12 pm

Another chapter will be added to a popular angling tradition on Saturday, April 28.

The annual La Grande Optimist Club Morgan Lake Fishing Derby will be conducted. The derby, sponsored by Bi-Mart, runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

The derby has the following age divisions: 6 and under, 7 to 11 and 12 to 16. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each age division based on the weight of their fish.

 Participants can enter any fish caught in the contest. 

There is no entry fee and all entrants will receive a prize for registering. 

Morgan Lake is stocked each spring with rainbow trout by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to the fishing derby.

The fish that anglers land each year are almost exclusively rainbow trout. Sometimes catfish and crappie are caught during the derby and these fish can be entered in the competition. 

In 2010 the winners of the six and under and 7-10 age divisions, brothers Jack and Colt Foltz, who then lived in Boise, both landed catfish in claiming first place honors. The catfish they caught were among about half a dozen catfish landed during the 2010 derby.

In recent derbies Morgan Lake’s floating dock, put in in 2009 and the four piers finished in April of 2010 have been popular with anglers.