At the Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake
The Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake will hold its 25th annual Fish Derby on April 23 and 24.
The derby is the major fundraising event for the center, which was founded by the late Neal Taylor in 1988. It is located within the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area at 2265 State Route 154.
Derby fishing begins at 6 a.m. April 23 and ends at noon April 24. Contestants must fish in the lake during the tournament hours and may fish from shore at any time during the derby including Saturday night. A flare will be fired at the harbor to start the event Saturday and end it on Sunday.
All anglers 16 years and older must have a fishing license, which can be purchased at the marina. Registered individuals must be 4 years or older to participate.
Entry fees are $35 if postmarked by April 9, $40 after April 9 and $45 on-site from April 22 to April 24. The fee for ages 4 through 15 is $10.
Registration forms are available at Cachuma Lake Park entry gate, store, marina, Nature Center and local businesses. To receive information and a registration form in the mail, leave your name and address on the hotline 805-693-8381 or visit www.troutderby.org.
Due to the threat of quagga mussels, Cachuma Lake has a 30-day quarantine and inspection of all boats except those with a Cachuma Lake Tag and kayaks/canoes. Check for updates to the inspection protocol at www.sbparks.org.
Cash prizes amounting to more than $5,000 plus thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise prizes will be awarded in many categories and to anglers of all ages. Certain prizes are designated for children and for teens.
Fish Derby cash prizes for adults include $599 for Heaviest Trout Caught and $300 second Heaviest Trout Caught; $599 Heaviest Bass Caught and $300 second Heaviest Bass Caught; $599 Heaviest Crappie Caught and $300 second Heaviest Crappie Caught; $599 Heaviest Trout Caught and $300 second Heaviest Trout Caught; $599 Heaviest Catfish Caught and $300 secondHeaviest Catfish Caught; and $599 Heaviest Carp Caught and $300 second Heaviest Carp Caught.
The Dutch Wilson Prize for $50 will go to the oldest angler to catch a fish.
Winners of the Neal Taylor Young Angler Award will be the first catch by an angler 15 years or younger on Saturday and the same on Sunday. Each will receive $50.
Cash prizes for children and teens, ages 11 to 15, include $100 for the Heaviest Fish caught by a girl, $50 second Heaviest Fish caught by girl, and $25 third Heaviest Fish caught by girl; $100 Heaviest Fish caught by boy, $50 second Heaviest Fish caught by boy and $25 third Heaviest Fish caught by boy.
Other Fish Derby activities include visits to the Neal Taylor Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to noon Sunday with admission by donation; free children’s activities on the lawn in front of the Nature Center from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday; Books and Treasures Sale at the Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; purchase of raffle tickets (open to general public) starting at noon Friday and continuing through Sunday. The winning tickets will be drawn at the Sunday Awards Program, which begins at 1 p.m. at the Fireside Theater. Ticket holders need not be present to win the raffle.
To make reservations for cabins, yurts, individual campsites or full hook-up sites, call 805-686-5050 or go to www.sbparks.org/reservations. For other camping information, call 805- 686-5054.
“The Nature Center was founded in 1988 when the dream of naturalist, Neal Taylor, became a reality. Mr. Taylor began fishing as a child in the Eastern Sierras with his father. As a teenager, Neal began entering fly fishing tournaments and started his own fly-tying business, Taylor Ties Flies. This business grew to have more than a dozen employees,” said Julie Anne McDonald, executive director.
“Mr. Taylor fished all over the world and conducted fly fishing instructional camps throughout the Western United States. He taught fly fishing to several celebrities and to three United States Presidents. Mr. Taylor is the author of ‘Fly Fishing,’ which is available in the Nature Center Gift Shop.”
He also taught various college level courses and was a frequent and popular speaker for business, professional, service and recreational organizations. He served as naturalist for the Santa Barbara County Parks Department for more than 18 years before retiring.
“Neal was a favorite of youth groups of all ages, and his legendary storytelling skills and humor added vitality and excitement to all the walks and talks he once led. He continued to be very active as a Nature Center board member and was a lead participant in the various fishing workshops held at the Nature Center, including the widely attended annual Trout Derby,” Ms. McDonald said.
“After his death in February 2011, it was proposed to rename the Cachuma Lake Nature Center in his honor to The Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake.”