Fishing derby draws thousands to Lake Isabella

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The annual Isabella Lake Trout Fishing Derby has been going for 25 years and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Kern River Valley.

Each year, thousands of people register for the derby in hopes of reeling in a winning fish.

Three thousand pounds of trout are purchased for the event, 500 of which are tagged with a monetary value ranging from $50 to the grand prize this year of $25,000.

The fish are dumped into the lake prior to the derby, in addition to the trout planted by the California Department of Fish and Game.

Some residents have been camped out for close to two weeks to get a prime location on the water's edge. For some, they are hoping this will be their lucky year.

"I've fished in a few of the derbies and I've never caught a tagged fish," said Bruce Worley who lives in Weldon. "There's a trick to catching the trout, but you know, it's the luck of the draw (with the tagged fish)."

Registration will continue all day Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.

It's $20 per person and $45 for a family. There are also $20 T-shirts that can be purchased and if you are wearing a derby T-shirt when you catch a $1,000 fish, the prize goes up to $2,500.

You can register at the Moose Lodge in Lake Isabella.