The Sycamore Island Fishing Derby returns for its fourth consecutive year Saturday and, as usual, the grand prize of a state lifetime fishing license is being raffled off for participants.
The competition is free, though participants must pay day-use fees of $9 per vehicle and $5 per trailered boat, and anglers 16 and older must have a valid California fishing license.
Online registration is recommended at www.riverparkway.org under the “Things to Do” tab.
On-site registration starts at 6 a.m. Anglers can begin casting lines into three competition ponds at 7 a.m. The derby ends at 11 a.m., with prizes and other awards to follow.
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Additional prizes include annual passes to Sycamore Island, summer camp scholarships and canoe rides. The raffle drawing for a lifetime California fishing license will be held at the end of the event.
▪ The San Joaquin River will get a lot more populated Friday, when approximately 105,000 spring-run Chinook salmon are released into the river. About 45,000 of the fish were produced at the San Joaquin River Restoration Program with the rest from the Feather River Hatchery in Oroville.
JIB-JAM for hunger – Marissa Hushaw’s JIB-JAM for Hunger returns for its fifth year Saturday at China Peak. The event costs $5 per person. Registration opens at 9 a.m. with competition starting at 11. Helmets are required.
Every participant will receive a prize and custom drawstring bag.
Last weekend, the 19-year-old Hushaw, whose home mountain is China Peak, placed 10th overall at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National finals in Lake Placid, N.Y. A new member of the Sierra Nevada College snowboarding team, she finished eighth individually in the rail jam, 15th in giant slalom, 11th in boardercross and 13th in slopestyle.
Silver Ski Slalom – Thanks to El Niño, the historic Silver Ski Slalom race returns to Yosemite National Park’s Badger Pass Ski Area this weekend. The annual event was canceled the previous two years because of the drought. The race is the longest running youth competition in the Sierra Nevada, dating back nearly six decades. Competition starts at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Open preserve day – Pack a lunch and spend a few hours meandering along Fine Gold Creek as it flows into Millerton Lake at its northern boundary.
The preserve will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Dogs are not allowed. Details: www.sierrafoothill.org.
New birding trail – A new birding trail has been opened at the Los Banos Wildlife Area by state fish and wildlife.
The trail is 2 1/2 miles long and winds through various habitats. During this time of year, birders can expect to see numerous species of ducks, geese, wading birds and songbirds.
Each area has an interpretive sign in both English and Spanish featuring bird illustrations and info. The trail is located at the northeast corner of the refuge, a few hundred feet east of the Salt Slough check station.
Access to the trail is free to those with a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license. All other visitors age 16 or older must have a CDFW Lands Pass.
Details: Los Banos Wildlife Area, (209) 826-0463.
Birding classes – Three birding classes are being offered this spring through collaboration between the Fresno Audubon Society, Sierra Foothill Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management.
- April 2, springtime birding at San Joaquin River Gorge
- April 9, three-mile birding hike at Fine Gold Creek Preserve
- May 7, hike at Black Mountain Preserve
The hikes are free, but spots are limited so online registration is required at www.sierrafoothill.org. Birders of all skill levels and children are welcome. No pets.