Over $5,000 will be up for grabs this weekend at the 15th annual Trout Derby, hosted by the Cachuma Lake Nature Center.
Four thousand pounds of trout will be planted in Lake Cachuma Friday in preparation for the annual fishing competition, which begins at 6 a.m. Saturday and ends at noon Sunday. Prizes will be awarded for a variety of categories, including the biggest trout caught and the most fish caught over the course of the weekend.
The event draws people of all ages, but for first-year biology major Michael Kelly, its all about the sport of fishing.
“I like the feeling when you realize that you have got a bite,” Kelly said. “I also love the fight, like reeling the fish in.”
The derby serves as the primary fundraiser for the Cachuma Lake Nature Center, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve the lake and educate the public about the local environment.
Over the last five months, 16,000 trout have been planted in Lake Cachuma. With this Friday’s addition, there will be upwards of 20,000 trout waiting to be caught this weekend.
In addition to cash prizes, thousands of dollars of merchandise will be up for grabs for contestants of all ages.
Nature Center Executive Director Julie McDonald said the lake serves as a scenic location for Santa Barbara residents to spend the weekend.
“Cachuma Lake is just so beautiful right now everything is so green, there are wildflowers everyplace it is just magical, a magical time of year to be up there.”
Michelle McCarthy, an undeclared first-year, said the event appeals to amateur anglers as well.
“That sounds like it would be awesome, I don’t really know about trout fishing, but hey, I can try my luck, maybe win some big bucks,” McCarthy said. “Plus, I can get a nice tan.”
Event registration costs $35 for participants 11 years and older and $10 for those under 10 years old. All anglers 16 and older must have a fishing license, which can be purchased at the marina.
Campsites and boat rentals will also be available at the lake.