Kids can drop a line and compete for prizes at Gardner Parks and Recreation’s annual Fishing Derby on Sept. 6.
It’s a brief, but fun event at a park facility that rarely sees organized action – Gardner Lake.
The event kicks off with a lunch provided by Cops-n-Bobbers and then kids will drop lines in hopes of scoring a fish or two. Kids can bring their own fishing poles and lures, but poles and lures will also be provided during the derby.
“As they catch the fish, volunteers walk around and do measurements,” Adraina Holopirek, Gardner Parks and Recreation supervisor, said.
The volunteers will help award prizes for several things, like the smallest fish, biggest fish, and the ugliest fish.
“We kind of make-up prizes,” she said. “That’s pretty much what the afternoon is.”
The prizes aren’t the best part, however. Holopirek really appreciates how the event is really a multi-generational one.
“It’s a good family event,” she said. “We usually get some grandparents that come out with their grandkids.”
The event is limited to 75 participants, but Holopirek said they typically have about 50 kids register.
Organizers aren’t certain how many consecutive years the event has occurred, but Holopirek said the annual event has occurred at least since 2001.
“Maybe that was the first time it was recorded,” she said.
The entire event lasts about two hours.
“They come, they eat, they fish a little and we do some prizes,” she said.
Many of the parks and recreation events are more athletic-oriented, and the event hopefully draws some of the kids who don’t participate in things like soccer and basketball. However, the event is typically scheduled during an afternoon following parks and rec soccer games, and Holopirek said she sees those kids – fresh from soccer games – out on the lake with fishing poles during the fishing derby.
“It just shows that it’s an event for everyone, and I think the kids get a kick out of it,” she said.
There are several co-sponsors of the event including Gardner Parks and Recreation, Cops N’ Bobbers, the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The event runs from noon to 2 p.m. on Sept. 6 at Gardner Lake Public Boat Dock. It is open to children ages 12 and under. Participants can register online at