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Unemployment may provide impetus to enter lucrative Lake Isabella Fishing Derby

March 11, 2009 | 11:34 am

A Lake Isabella Fishing Derby volunteer dumps a load of trout into the reservoir. Ten tagged trout are worth $10,000 apiece.

Unemployment in Kern County has soared to 13.8%, which is unfortunate. But locals with newfound free time, if they're willing to risk a $20 investment, might want to consider entering the Lake Isabella Fishing Derby April 4-6 at the sprawling reservoir in the Kern River Valley.

Actually, anyone feeling their luck is due to change for the better ought to consider entering the lucrative tournament.

Organizers somehow managed to secure 10 sponsors willing to tag a fish worth $10,000, so there will be 10 of those fish swimming around. All you have to do is catch one, and $10,000 is yours. No IOUs!

Also, to commemorate the 20th anniversary, if an angler uses a rented boat from French Gulch Marina or North Fork Marina and catches a $10,000 fish sponsored by them, it becomes worth $20,000. There's more: If an angler uses YUM TroutKrilla bait and catches a $10,000 fish sponsored by the company, it becomes worth $20,000.

Here's another incentive: The longest trout caught during the event, even if it wears no tag, will be worth $1,000. (Thousands of pounds of trout, including trophy-sized Alpers rainbows, will be stocked before the derby.)

Plus, there will be 989 tagged trout worth from $20 to $1,000.

Many or all of the big-money trout might evade capture during the onslaught, but in 19 years more than $200,000 has been paid to participants. However, if you decide to enter expect  competition. Organizers are expecting more than 5,000 entrants.

May the most deserving angler win!

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A Lake Isabella Fishing Derby volunteer dumps a load of trout into the reservoir. Ten tagged trout are worth $10,000 apiece. Credit: Rex Emerson

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