Klineline Pond gets 14,115 new residents ahead of kids fishing derby

More than 300 volunteers work to prepare pond for the thousands of children who will look to land a fish Friday and Saturday

VANCOUVER — Klineline Pond got about 14,115 new residents on Thursday as five truckloads of hatchery trout were hauled in and placed in the popular fishing hole.

With a little luck — and a lot of help from sponsors and volunteers — thousands of children who plan to take part in two days of derby fishing at Salmon Creek Park hope to reduce that number significantly beginning Friday morning.

Fish are placed in Klineline Pond Thursday morning ahead of the Klineline Kids Fishing derby Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Fish are placed in Klineline Pond Thursday morning ahead of the Klineline Kids Fishing derby Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

That’s when Klineline Kids Fishing, the nonprofit that makes the family-friendly event succeed each year, will hold its annual kickoff to the derby by opening the shores of the freshly-stocked lake to children with special needs.

Bill Czech, president of the nonprofit behind all the fishy action, said last year’s special needs day unfolded with a backdrop of “absolutely typhoon weather.” Despite that meteorological chaos, 300 kids signed up for the Friday fishing and more than 700 turned out on the morning of the event. Rain is expected this Friday, but not at the level of intensity seen in 2017.

Fish are placed in Klineline Pond Thursday morning ahead of the Klineline Kids Fishing derby Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Fish are placed in Klineline Pond Thursday morning ahead of the Klineline Kids Fishing derby Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

“I expect all of that 700 and more Friday,” Czech told ClarkCountyToday.com as he and dozens of others continued to make final preparations Thursday afternoon.

The opportunity to watch and assist children with special needs as they experience the joy of landing a fish on the other end of their line is intoxicating, he said. In fact, it’s his favorite part of the whole weekend.

“The biggest reward is tomorrow,” Czech said. “You can’t stop the special needs kids. It’s infectious. They’re having such a good time, you can’t help but have a great time watching them.”

 

Volunteers work to install netting where hatchery trout were later placed for this weekend’s Klineline Kids Fishing derby. Photo by Mike Schultz
Volunteers work to install netting where hatchery trout were later placed for this weekend’s Klineline Kids Fishing derby. Photo by Mike Schultz

 

Friday’s fishing is expected to last from sunup through about 4:30 p.m.

Then, come Saturday, the big show arrives, with fishing for those ages 5 to 14 beginning at about 6:30 a.m. and lasting through 4 p.m.  

More than 3,000 youths are expected to take up residence along the shores of the pond in hopes of landing a fish Saturday. Along with parents, guardians, volunteers and others, the park is expected to see anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 visitors during the two-day event.

It’s never easy to predict what the turnout might be, but Czech said regardless of the final tally, it brings he and other volunteers great joy to see so many children getting outside and taking in the experience.

An osprey tries for an easy snack after salmon were trucked to Klineline Pond Thursday ahead of the Friday and Saturday fishing derby. Photo by Mike Schultz
An osprey tries for an easy snack after trout were trucked to Klineline Pond Thursday ahead of the Friday and Saturday fishing derby. Photo by Mike Schultz

“It’s just great to be around a bunch of kids,” he said. “It’s like, quit taking yourself so seriously and have fun.”

That fun is made possible by a list of agencies, organizations, businesses and volunteers so long that Czech hesitated to start naming them.

“We have all these area fishing clubs, lots of businesses, nonprofits … I don’t want to really name anyone because I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out,” he said.

Fishing poles are moved into position Thursday as volunteers prepare for thousands of children to attend the Klineline Kids Fishing event Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Fishing poles are moved into position Thursday as volunteers prepare for thousands of children to attend the Klineline Kids Fishing event Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

Over the course of the weekend, there will be more than 300 volunteers giving their time and expertise to pull off the event, he said.

As for the fish, Czech said a total of 14,115 were stocked in netted areas around the banks of the pond Thursday morning. Of those, there are about 90 4-year-old fish and 425 3-year-olds. Young anglers will be lucky to bring one of these to the surface, as they’ll weigh between 5 and 10 pounds. The remaining fish will be in the “two fish per pound” range.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, placing the fish — which come from hatcheries — in netting a day prior to the event allows them to acclimate to their new surroundings before the derby begins.  

Klineline Pond will reopen to public fishing on Monday after volunteers successfully remove the netting from the pond and otherwise clean up after the event.

Fishing poles were moved into position Thursday as volunteers prepared for thousands of children to attend the Klineline Kids Fishing event Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Fishing poles were moved into position Thursday as volunteers prepared for thousands of children to attend the Klineline Kids Fishing event Friday and Saturday. Photo by Mike Schultz

To learn more about Klineline Kids Fishing, visit www.klineline-kf.org.

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About The Author

Eric Schwartz arrives as a reporter at Clark County Today with nearly 15 years of experience as a journalist. He most recently served five years as editor of The Chronicle newspaper in Centralia. Prior to that, he was an assistant editor, reporter and intern at the newspaper. Schwartz graduated from Forks High School on the Olympic Peninsula before attending Centralia College and Eastern Washington University, where he was the editor-in-chief of the award-winning college newspaper, The Easterner, and received the Edmund J. Yarwood award as the top performer in his class. He covered sports through a fellowship at The Tri-City Herald before taking a full-time reporting job with The Chronicle in 2007. After three years as a reporter at The Chronicle, he traveled to Kalispell, MT, and worked as a crime, courts and emergency services reporter at The Daily Inter Lake, where he won two first-place awards for spot news coverage from the Montana Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2011, he returned to The Chronicle as the assistant editor before being promoted to editor in 2013. Under his leadership, The Chronicle was the recipient of several C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for Distinguished Reporting, and the newspaper was twice given the General Excellence Award as the top performer in its category by the Society of Professional Journalists. Schwartz has also been the recipient of two C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for his own reporting and has garnered additional individual awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Most recently, he and his staff were honored with a Key Award from the Washington Coalition for Open Government for The Chronicle’s editorials and news coverage focused on transparency in county government.

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