WOODLAND– Large rainbow trout and steelhead will be waiting in the water July 21 at a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) wheelchair-accessible hatchery near here when 100 children from area hospitals arrive for the third annual Special Kids' Fishing Derby.
The young patients from area hospitals, including Doembecher Children's Hospital and Shriners' Hospital for Children in Portland, will start fishing at 10 a.m. in two ponds at the Merwin Fish Hatchery, 1111 Merwin Court in Ariel (Cowlitz County).
The hatchery ponds will be stocked for the event with some 4,000 trout and steelhead, each in the 2- to 6-pound range. Each young angler will have individual coaching from volunteers representing the event sponsors– WDFW, Pacific Power, Vancouver Wildlife League, Fish First and the local community.
The hatchery can be reached by taking the Woodland/Cougar exit from Interstate 5, proceeding east for 10 miles on Highway 503, turning right at the Merwin Dam/Pacific Power sign, continuing a half mile down the hill and following signs to the parking area at the hatchery.