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Mar 31

Erica Dial


Posted by Erica Dial

               This year marks the 15th annual “Hooked On Fishing” Opening Day Trout Derby on Lake Wilderness. This is actually an event that spans generations of opening day enthusiasts.  The Maple Valley Lion’s Club originally sponsored the derby decades ago until 1994.  In 2003 when the City of Maple Valley acquired the park from King County, a partnership was forged by the chamber, Maple Valley Rotary, and The City to bring the traditional opening day celebration back to Lake Wilderness.  Where else can you go so close to home to camp out all night, enter a derby, and eat a ham and egg breakfast with all you can eat pancakes at midnight under the stars?                

                This is definitely an event for all ages.  There is fishing of course, from the shoreline, from boats, from the dock; and a fish pen for young anglers under the age of 9, but there’s more.  Fred Meyer will host kid’s games on the beach Friday evening and there are open fire pits for roasting marshmallows.  NEW this year is the addition of an outdoor family movie on Friday night. Sit back and relax while watching Finding Dory. Special thanks to Black Diamond Maple Valley Kiwanis Club for sponsoring this event. And remember there is a tagged fish released in to the lake and if caught before noon on Saturday, is worth $300.  It’s been caught twice in the history of the derby; once in 2003 by the legendary Nathan Cairns and in 2007 by Nathan Geringer.  We will also have a special recognition to honor our long time friend and The Most Supreme High Head Weighmaster, Gerry Day, who passed away at the end of last year. We will miss hime terribly

                So gear up and get ready. Purchase your Washington State fishing license right here in Maple Valley at Fred Meyer and get your camping and fishing gear at Fred Meyer and Johnsons Home & Garden!  Camping set-up begins at 3 pm Friday, April 21st and the derby and breakfast begin at midnight and conclude at noon on Saturday, April 22nd.  (All campers must register when arriving in The Park and agree to the rules and regulations of this event.)

                To help alleviate the back-up at the boat launch, plan on launching your boat early and leaving it on the beach until derby time.  Complete fishing rules and regulations, safety tips, the up-to-date parking plan, and schedule of events are on our website at and Please note: This year, prior to launching you boat into Lake Wilderness you will be required to sign a form stating your boat has not been out of WA waters in the last 30 days. If so, you will have to sign another form stating you have decontaminated it properly. Sorry but it's the State's rules and we have to follow it.

                This event is made possible by many, many local businesses along with the collaboration of the Greater Maple Valley - Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, Maple Valley Rotary and the City of Maple Valley.  A special thanks goes to our Big Fish Sponsors:

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