Photo by Robert Whale, Auburn Reporter
Isabel Palady, all of 2 years old, displays the first fish she has ever caught, at the 60th annual fishing derby at Mill Creek Pond last Saturday.

Photo by Robert Whale, Auburn Reporter Isabel Palady, all of 2 years old, displays the first fish she has ever caught, at the 60th annual fishing derby at Mill Creek Pond last Saturday.

Kids reel ‘em in at annual fishing derby in Auburn

When Isabel Palady, a girl of few words, caught the first fish of her life last Saturday morning at Mill Creek Pond in south Auburn, true to her reputation, she didn’t have much to say.

Her legs, now, they were in a mood to talk, jumping up and down and then speeding her right up to her smiling daddy, Jordan Palady, to show him the rainbow trout, still-a wriggling at the end of her line.

Her big brother, Jacob — radio handle, Big Boy Hunter – like Isabel by the end of the day, would catch the state-mandated limit of five. He couldn’t wait to get home with them. At his tender age, he already knew what to do.

“Gonna eat ‘em,” said Jacob, shooting the questioner a “what are you, stupid?” sort of look.

But brother and sister wouldn’t have to clean them first; the derby provided plenty of volunteers to handle the guts.

“It’s a lot of fun, I try not to miss it,” said their father of the annual fishing derby. The Puget Sound Anglers (PSA) Save our Fish Auburn Chapter, The Green River Trout Steelhead Club and the Auburn Lions have been putting on for kids 14 and under for 60 years.

“It’s an annual thing, we missed out on it a couple years because of COVID, but since everything has opened up, we were able to resume the derby again,” added Palady, himself a member of PSA for about 10 years. “It makes it easy to keep the attention span of a young kid. When their bobbers are going down, they’re catching fish and don’t get bored or preoccupied with other things.”

Between the state and event organizers, more than 1,600 fish crowded the pond Saturday, said Rob Larsen, president of the PSA chapter in Auburn.

“The thing that’s really nice about this fishing derby is that the kids can go until they catch their five fish, if they want. There’s no time limit, they’re in a natural setting. It introduces them to fishing at a time when they can actually be pretty much assured they’re going to catch a fish,” said Larsen.

“We had about 75 kids today, which is a bit down from the 100 to 150 we typically have. With the weather today — heavy rain early in the morning — we had a little bit less than normal. I had both of my granddaughters here today, and both caught fish. And there was this little gal down there, she caught her first fish and she was just excited, jumping up and down. It’s just awesome, introducing these kids to fishing,” said Larsen.

Across the pond, fishing pole in the water, stood Nevaeh Heyer, 4. She had been antsy for this day to dawn, said her mother, Christina Mackenzie.

“She begged me all night and all morning,” said Mackenzie.

But the girl’s first catch startled her: It was moving. And slippery.

“She was scared, she said it moves too much,” said Mackenzie.


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A pole wrests from its labors at the 60th annual fishing derby for kids 14 and under at Mill Creek Pond last Saturday. Photo by Robert Whale, Auburn Reporter

A pole wrests from its labors at the 60th annual fishing derby for kids 14 and under at Mill Creek Pond last Saturday. Photo by Robert Whale, Auburn Reporter

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