Bill Yarlott Fishing Derby is an island tradition

For young anglers, there is one can’t-miss event: the Bill Yarlott Fishing Derby.

Now in its 20th year, the derby is an island tradition for kids looking to reel in a big catch on Cascade Lake. It will be held on Saturday, April 23 starting at sunrise. A pancake breakfast starts at 9:30 a.m. in the day use picnic area.

“It’s a great event that brings awareness to a wonderful sport and gives children a chance to get excited about fishing,” said Fiona Stone of Orcas Adventures, which is coordinating this year’s derby.

Stone’s husband Eddie and their daughter Molina – along with her uncle Andy – have been participating in it for the past five years. The event is a celebration of the beginning of fishing season and a rite of passage for island kids. The largest fish caught was almost 19 inches.

Weigh-in is at 10 a.m. and the winner will be announced at 11 a.m. King’s Market and Orcas Outfitters have donated all the prizes.

“This year we are stepping it up and making efforts to make this even better,” Stone said.

The derby has traditionally been organized by the Friends of Moran and volunteers Amy and Phillip Miller, but Stone has taken over the duties. It is named after Yarlott because he was instrumental in stocking Cascade Lake with Kokanee, rainbow trout and bass when fish numbers began to decline. He was also influential in getting the first hatchery up and running. The Moran Creek Kokanee Hatchery is now located across the road from Cascade Lake. Visitors can see the small fry at the hatchery through the viewing window.

Yarlott passed away in 2015 but was at last year’s derby. Members of his family will be at the 2016 festivities.