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Derby taps free-fishing

A prize totaling $500 awaits the angler who catches the biggest trout on June 9 during the first Sprague Lake Trout Derby.

Fishermen have boated some huge rainbows out of the 1,840-acre lake since it was rehabilitated in 2007. The derby gives them a chance to cash in on their luck.

All derby participants will be eligible for prize drawings, and kids especially will have a chance to win fishing rods, said Dave Broxson, co-organizer.

The angler weighing in the second largest fish caught between 6 a.m. and the 6 p.m. weigh-in will win $100 in gift cards and merchandise provided by Cabela’s and Wholesale Sports.

Third place gets goodies totaling $50.

Tickets will be available the day of the derby at the two resorts on the lake:

• Four Seasons Campground Resort, (509) 257-2332, on the northwest end of the lake.

• Sprague Lake Resort, (509) 259-7060, at the east end of the resort just outside the town of Sprague.

The Main Derby Station and weigh-in site will be situated just outside Sprague Lake Resort.

Both resorts offer camping, boat rentals, boat launching, docks and tackle.

To participate, anglers must purchase a derby ticket, $7 for adults, $5 for youths 16 and under.

Fish and Wildlife police and county sheriff marine patrols plan to patrol the lake, said Broxson, a member of the Sprague Lake User Group that’s organizing the event.

“People want to make sure they have their boats up to code and their life jackets,” he said. “But they won’t need to buy a fishing license – we scheduled the derby for Washington’s free-fishing weekend.”

The SLUG, as the group likes to call itself, also hopes anglers make sure their boats are clean of possible invasive species before launching.

Anglers will have to play by the rules. The limit at Sprague Lake is 5 fish, only two can be longer than 20 inches.

“The fishing conditions should be good for the derby, before the weeds grow up and any algae blooms come on,” Broxson said.

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