(La Junta, CO) -- It was nice weather for fishing for year 23 of the La Junta Elks club annual fishing derby Saturday in La Junta. About 70 local kids and their families lined the City Park Pond banks to fish. La Junta Elks Lodge's Michael Perez explained, it's just something they do to help kids connect with the hobby. "You have kids that of course have fished and are into fishing prior to this but then you have the flip side that maybe some of these kids have never fished. And this provides them the opportunity to come out and try something new and maybe be involved with something that will be a hobby from here on out."
Donations of gear and bait help kids who wouldn't have the means to try it otherwise.
And Perez explains the day is just about having a good time with family too.
The rules are that you must be under the age of 16 and must be able to fish on their own.
Sponsors who make the event possible are the La Junta Elks Lodge, Colorado Bank and Trust, Walmart and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
There were prizes for different categories. Scroll down to see the winners.
Of course, I interviewed the kids...
Eight year old Aiden caught the first fish of the year and swears it isn't just a fish story. "Once they honked the horn and then I reeled it out, like it just like it just went down, and then I reeled it in and it was a catfish." He tells me the best thing about fishing is just having fun, his fish count was at four for the day when I distracted him for a quick interview.
Fourth Grader Nathan came with his family from as far away as Pueblo West and he proudly announced one of his fish of the day was 17 inches.
And 12 year old Peyton Stoker says it's been a fun day for her so far, and she's done well with four fish, so far. Her technique is to just cast farther out into the pond. She says it's much faster.
Believe me when I tell you, that hearing these interviews is WORTH it. I've linked to the interview page below. We also spoke with Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Steve Keefer about stocking the pond. LISTEN here: https://www.coloradonewsyourway.com/listen