Trail Mix for 3/13: Sycamore Island derby nearing capacity

The Fresno BeeMarch 12, 2014 

Richard Butler and his daughter Kristen Butler, 7, stand by their lines as they wait for the catfish to bite at the Sycamore Island Park on Sept. 20, 2008.

DARRELL WONG — Fresno Bee Staff File Photo Buy Photo

The San Joaquin River Fish Derby on Saturday will be full of anglers, with the second annual event at 75% capacity via online registration.

Steve Thao, the Fresno director of Trout Unlimited, said everything has been going according to plan in preparation of the derby at Sycamore Island Ranch (39664 Avenue 7 1/2, Madera 93636).

Thao said he's has caught plenty of bass on recent trips and that even beginning anglers at the derby should have no problem getting a bite. In addition to bass, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has planted trout at the Sycamore Island ponds over recent weeks.

The derby starts at 7 a.m., with the grand prize of a lifetime California fishing license.

To register or details:

First SJRT Half Marathon a success

What started as a dream ended in reality for race organizer Nathaniel Moore, as the San Joaquin River Trail Half Marathon ended without a hitch Saturday.

More than 100 runners hit the San Joaquin River Gorge to run the 13.1-mile route that featured a cumulative 2,500-foot elevation gain.

Benjamin Madrigal, of Madera, was the top men's runner, finishing in 1 hour, 38.17 seconds. Tracy Bowling, of Fresno, was the top women's runner with a time of 1:59:39.

River restoration seminar next Saturday

Anglers can have questions answered on the future of the San Joaquin River as Gerald Hatler of California Fish and Wildlife will lead a discussion March 20 at Herb Bauer Sporting Goods (6264 N. Blackstone Ave.) in Fresno.

The 6 p.m. seminar will include the river's impact study and restoration projects.

News & Notes

** Saturday is the final day to apply online for the Mount Whitney lottery for the 2014 quota period (May 1 to Nov. 1) at All applications received by 8:59 p.m. Saturday will be processed in one computerized drawing.

There is a $6 application fee, and successful applicants are charged $15 per permit. As of Monday, the Forest Service had received 8,744 applications.

Details at or (760) 873-2483.

** March 22 is Veteran's Day on the McKenzie Preserve. The Sierra Foothill Conservancy will open the preserve to veterans and current military along with their families. Space is limited to 300 people.

Register at or by calling (559) 855-3473.

** The CenCal Mud Factor 5K is back March 23. The obstacle run will have multiple waves as runners will get down and dirty, crawling under and climbing over various obstacles. The race will be at the former The Grove in Sanger (14265 E. Goodfellow Ave). Costs start at $60 per person.

Details at

** The Merced County Wildlife Management Area is open to bird watchers through the CDFW's Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Alliance Program. SHARE also includes opportunities at Bobcat Ranch in Yolo County and the Sleepy Creek Ranch and Jones Ranch in Santa Barbara County.

Details at

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6401, or @anhelllll on Twitter.

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