VANCOUVER – Children with disabilities will have a chance to reel in a lunker during a special fishing event July 19 at Merwin Fish Hatchery east of Woodland.
The tenth-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 (WDFW), Pacific Power, C.A.S.T for Kids and Fish First, a non-profit organization dedicated to stream restoration and salmon recovery.
The wheelchair-accessible hatchery waters will be planted with up to 6,000 trout ranging in size from 1 to 9 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, storytelling and other activities.
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.
Registration for the event is required by July 14. To sign up a participating child or to volunteer, call toll-free 1-800-899-4421.