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July 02, 2004
Contact: Pat Phillips, (360) 225-6201

Merwin fishing event lures special kids

Children with disabilities will have a chance to land a lunker in a special fishing event July 17 at Merwin Fish Hatchery east of Woodland.

The sixth-annual Merwin Special Kids' Day, sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Pacific Power, CAST for Kids, Vancouver Wildlife League, Fish First and local businesses, is expected to draw some 200 participants and their families.

The wheelchair-accessible hatchery waters will be planted with up to 6,000 trout ranging in size from 1 to 9 pounds. Some 250 volunteers are expected to serve as one-on-one fishing coaches assisting youngsters throughout the day. Rods, reels, tackle and T-shirts will be provided for the young fishers to use and keep. A free barbecue lunch will be served; activities including fish painting and storytelling will round out the day.

Instituted in 1999, the annual fishing event draws youngsters from Doernbecher Children's Hospital, and Emanuel Legacy, Kaiser Kids and Shriners hospitals, as well as other special-needs children.

Registration for the event is required by July 9. To sign up a participating child or to volunteer, call toll-free 1-800-899-4421.