The City of Socorro’s annual fishing derby is set for April 6. The free event is loaded with prizes and fun for youngsters from 3 to 17 years of age at Escondido Lake.

It was initially started by the Socorro Bass Club more years back than member Ronald Gilworth knows about, but the idea has always been about introducing young people to the sport of fishing.

“I honestly don’t remember how far back it goes, maybe 35-40 years. It predates me,” Gilworth said.

The 1988 state champion and angler of the year is about introducing fishing to people.

“We’re going to have four different age divisions, and there should be lots of trout because the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish has always been really good to us about making sure there are plenty for the derby,” Gilworth said. Since the city took over, they’ve done a great job of organizing and getting a sponsor for fishing poles and rods for the kids. The Socorro Bass Club is an assistance role now.”

The derby, which is sponsored by the City of Socorro, Socorro County, the Forget Me Not Veterans Center, and the Socorro Bass Club, is free to enter.

Youngsters will have a chance at winning prizes through raffles, including donated bicycles. All participants will receive a free lunch, and the anglers with the biggest fish will receive prizes.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids and their families, and we’re all looking forward to the derby this year,” Gilworth said.

Russell Huffman, El Defensor Chieftain Asst. Editor