Families fish together at Kiwanis Fishing Derby

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Saturday was Heidi Smith's lucky day at the annual Kiwanis Fishing Derby.

Smith caught 73 fish at the Lake Lisgar derby, held in conjunction with the Bob Izumi's Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days. The 11-year-old angler won two fishing poles, taking the prize for Most Fish and one of seven bass prizes.

"I didn't think I'd get that many," she said. "I was getting a lot."

Heidi, who was fishing with her father Andrew near the walking bridge, said she caught perch, bluegills, and a lot of sunfish.

"And rock bass, green bass," said Andrew.

Starting around 6:30 a.m., Heidi had a simple, effective strategy.

"I just put the line in the water. When a fish would bite, I waited till they swam a little bit, then I pulled up my pole."

Her father baited most of her hooks. Nothing special, just worms.

"I did it twice," she noted with pride.

But she drew the line at taking fish off the hook. That job was her dad's.

"I don't like touching them," she admitted.

After taking her fish in to be counted, all 73 were released back into the lake.

Ayslinn Clark did not share Heidi's aversion to holding fish – she had her hands on a large rainbow trout that had been rescued from the lake.

"We're taking him home," said Ayslinn, who caught it with with her hands. An angler had tried to release the fish, but it looked like it wasn't going to make it.

"It wasn't doing too good," said Ayslinn.

Ayslinn was also successful with a pole bringing in a sunfish before the 1 p.m. deadline.

Landon McGowan, who was fishing with his brother Cody in a canoe, caught his first-ever rainbow trout, including one that measured 17 inches, just shy of CJ Watters' Biggest Fish of the day, an 18.5-inch rainbow.

"I caught 20 fish today," said Landon, who won bass and trout prizes. "Twenty-four if you count perch."

"The guy said it (17-inch trout) was one of the biggest," said Cody, who caught a bluegill – and the final draw prize of the day. "Last year he caught a huge bass. This year, five minutes after we started he said, 'Cody, I've got something big!"

Attendance was up for the 2015 Kiwanis Fishing Derby with 160 registered anglers, and another 20 helpers, who were vying for dozens of prizes.

"Special thanks to Cops, Kids and Canadian Tire Fishing Days, the Kiwanis Club, and the Knights of Columbus for their donations," said Mike Dean, one of the Kiwanis organizers who was helped set up for the derby at 5:30 a.m. "All of the children received swag bags."

Most of the volunteers were Kiwanis Club members. Phil Gravelle and Dennis Taylor also assisted. "Special thanks to them," said Dean.

In addition to Watters' 18-inch trout, Dean said highlights of the day included a "fairly large bass... and four catfish."

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