Lightning Trout featured at the Fishing Derby March 23-25

Photos and Story by Catherine Stachowiak

Fred Clark addresses the chamber

Even more big surprises are in store for those keeping up on the details of the chamber’s upcoming annual Fishing Derby. The California Department of Fish and Game was scheduled to stock the Isabella Lake just before the event. 

Fred Clark, president of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce (KRVCC), announced Wednesday March 13, that the Fishing Derby this month would have Lightening Trout, which are an Albino series of trout, which come off the East coast. They are a golden color and have pink meat.

“I have never been allowed to stock them in this lake,” Clark said. “Department of Fish and Wild Life has never allowed us to bring in this strain because, in their opinion, 

we were introducing an invasive species to our lake. For whatever reason they granted me the okay to bring in 250 pounds of these fish this year. So damn right I’ll do it.”

 Every one that’s coming to the lake will be tagged with a dollar value. 

The dates of the Fishing Derby are March 23-March 25. Headquarters are held at Eagles Lodge12251 CA-178, Lake Isabella, CA 93240.

“Next weekend is the 33rd annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby. We have an amazing

team of volunteers who’ve been feeding fish since the first week of November. Those fish will be released to the lake for the anglers, between Monday and Tuesday,” said Clark.

“In addition to that we’ve got all of our fish coming from Calaveras Trout Farm the end of next week as well for the derby.  We will have 500 tagged trout, a little over $60,000 in cash money that’s going to be out there swimming around to be caught.”

Money for the Fishing Derby comes directly out of the KRVCC’s budget, and promotes the valley regardless of how many anglers show up, according to Clark.

Hunter Clark feeds the fish for the Derby.

All volunteers work a good six months, to year round, preparing for the Fishing Derby.

Clark told the chamber that other communities praised the chamber and Kern Valley for how well the event is promoted and presented.  “It’s going to be an amazing event,” Clark said.

The fishing hats available this year are in three colors, black, gray and camouflage.  There will be some firearms up for drawings as well during the derby.  

Clark said he hoped to see more youth anglers at the derby this year. The charge for youths to enter the derby is $15.  The chamber gives the youth attending at headquarters a rod, reel and tackle box.