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July 03, 2006
Contact: Pat Phillips, (360) 225-4394

Merwin fishing event lures special kids

VANCOUVER Children with disabilities will have a chance to land a lunker in a special fishing event July 15 at Merwin Fish Hatchery east of Woodland.

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

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, followed by fish painting, storytelling and other activities.

Instituted in 1999, the annual fishing event draws youngsters from Doernbecher Children's Hospital, and Emanuel Legacy, Kaiser Kids and Shriners hospitals, but sponsors encourage anyone with a special-needs child to join in the fun.

Registration for the event is required by July 7. To sign up a participating child or to volunteer, call toll-free 1-800-899-4421.