The Kids Free Fishing Day at the Kilarc Forebay on May 3, 2014 was an unqualified success. Put on by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife aided by Whitmore volunteers Robie Rich and RJ Roth, the event drew 70 adults and 55 children to the little lake in the sky which was full of hungry fish planted by the CDFW the night before. The CDFW team of volunteers headed up by J. Blanke handed out fishing rods and stringers to any kids who didn’t have them. Bait was provided by the Cruz Thru Market in Bella Vista, Koch Brothers Sporting Goods in Shingletown and the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Redding. A lunch of barbecued hotdogs was provided by Rich and Roth.
Many of the kids who arrived when the event started at 9:00 a.m. had already caught their limit by 10:00 a.m. when we began our stroll around the lake to see who the fisher-kids were and how they were doing. We found lots of Whitmore and Oak Run natives such as the Russ Dederer Family of the R&R Ranch in Whitmore, with kids Jace and Jaylin fishing to their heart’s content. We also ran into old friends Joan and Earl Wetmore with their great grand daughter Julia Price, who was fishing for the first time. As we watched, Julia hooked a fish, but it got away before she could reel it in.
Others came up from the valley floor, from Palo Cedro, Bella Vista, Millville, Mountain Gate, Redding, Cottonwood, and one family even came up from the Oroville/Yuba City area. A determined and dedicated mother of two from Bella Vista mistakenly got on Oak Run Road rather than Whitmore Road so took the scenic route over the ridge to Kilarc, asking directions from locals as she went along. One man she spoke to offered to let her children fish in his pond if she couldn’t make it up to Kilarc. (I passed her heading the wrong way when I was almost to the unmarked intersection where one road leads to the Kilarc picnic grounds, the other up Miller Mountain. Not knowing which road to take, she had decided to go back to the pond in Oak Run. She turned around and followed me in.)
Three generations of Glenn Dye’s family were enjoying fishing in memory of their Whitmore patriarch who spent many hours in his last years fighting to save Kilarc from PG&E’s plans to decommission the power plant and drain the forebay. The Dye Family was joined by Tim Dye’s former father-in-law from Norwalk, who gets the award for the person who traveled the furthest to reach Kilarc. Glenn’s grandson Tom, who inherited his grandfather’s passion for fishing (Tim says it must skip a generation as he has none at all) was sharing his filleting technique and a recipe for with other families fishing nearby.
Event organizer Robie Rich said, “It was a wonderful day! The weather was great and I don’t believe a single child left without their limit.” Her helper-in-chief RJ Roth added, “I really enjoyed watching the kids having a great time fishing! It was time well spent.”