VANCOUVER – Children with disabilities will have a chance to reel in a lunker during a special fishing event July 17 at Merwin Fish Hatchery east of Woodland.
The 12th annual Merwin Special Kids Day, expected to draw more than 100 participants and their families, is sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pacific Power, and the Go Play Outside Alliance of Washington (GoPAW).
The wheelchair-accessible hatchery waters will be planted with up to 5,000 trout ranging in size from one to four pounds. Volunteers will 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, a casting contest and other activities.
Pre-registration for the event is required by June 30th. To sign up a participating child or to volunteer, call toll-free 1-800-899-4421.
Instituted in 1999, the annual fishing event draws youngsters from the Vancouver School for the Blind, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Emanuel Legacy, Kaiser Kids and Shriners hospitals, but sponsors encourage anyone with a special-needs child to join in the fun.