‘I’m hooked’ Kern River Valley volunteers are already preparing for the fishing derby

‘I’m hooked’ Kern River Valley volunteers are already preparing for the fishing derby

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. – The Lake Isabella Fishing Run brings thousands of people to the Kern River Valley each year for one weekend of epic fishing.

But for event organizers, preparation starts early and requires the dedication of many volunteers.

“We have a team of volunteers who feed these fish three times a day. We usually get those fish in at the end of October. We’ll usually feed them until the beginning of or “Mid-March and we release them so the fishing community can have a good time.”

They raise approximately 6,000 to 10,000 trout annually.

The fishing derby is a major event that brings many tourists to Lake Isabella. There are lake trout that are bred specifically for this event so more fish are brought in.

Some fish will be tagged, and there are chances to win prizes for catching them.

“We’ll have 500 tagged trout worth over $60,000 in the water. We just want to make sure everyone out here has a good time,” Clark said.

“There’s a very good chance you’ll catch a fish. There’s a lot of trout in this lake right now,” said Robbie Miller, one of the volunteers helping to organize the event.

It is a labor of love for those who volunteer to make the derby happen.

“They love giving back. This valley is what we call home,” Clark said.

Nearly 30 volunteers donate their time to feed the fish in the months leading up to the derby.

“Without them and all their efforts, this could not have happened.”

The fishing derby brings thousands of tourists to the KRV. Locals want to show them the beauty and fun of the Kern River Valley.

“Last year I was able to volunteer, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Miller said.

After the trout are fully fed and grown over several months in the pens near Reed Marina in Lake Isabella, volunteers haul the pens across the lake, releasing the fish along the way.

“I would be with a big network and I would be like Santa Claus, just letting them all out, people so excited and happy,” Miller recalls. “That’s when I got hooked and wanted to be a part.”

Who is this.”

Clark’s favorite part of the derby is seeing the memories the families make.

“The fun, the excitement, the camaraderie of getting back together and having a good time, that’s what it’s all about. The fishing is just a bonus.”

The Isabella Fishing Derby takes place March 23-25, and you can purchase tickets for it at KernRiverValley.com.

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