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It's NOT about the Bass in Bass Lake during the annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby

Family Friendly, Fishing, Water Activities

Fishing, Bass Lake Fishing Derby

The legendary lake might be named after the abundance of bass in its pristine waters, but the annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is after a different species of fish… Trout. Every year around the first weekend of May, the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce holds this event to kick off the exciting summer season the right way.

Bass Lake Fishing Derby

One-Of-A-Kind Derby

Compared to other derbies based on the length of the fish hooked, this cast & reelin’ extravaganza is about picking up a specific fish with a tag. The derby typically features 1,000 stocked rainbow trout each tagged for prize money including:

  • Two worth $10,000
  • One for $5,000
  • 150 at $100
  • Hundreds Worth $20 each (In 2018, over 800 were released!)

Bass Lake Fishing Derby 2016 WinnerBass Lake, Bass Lake Fishing Derby, Fishing, Bass Lake Chamber

What If The Grand Prize Winners Don’t Get Caught

Ever since the 1985 inaugural derby, thousands have descended upon these waters for a crack at the big prizes. It wasn’t until nine years later that someone finally hooked the first “big” fish for $10,000 during the derby’s last day in 1993. So, what happens if it doesn’t get caught? Well, according to Rule #10 for registered participants of the Bass Lake Fishing Derby, “If the three grand prize fish are not caught during Derby Weekend, they will be worth $500 through June 30, 2019.” So, besides trying to hook the “big one” during the derby, you'll have a few months to get them if no one does.

A Chance For Serenity

Besides the opportunity to win cash by casting a lure, it also affords you some peace & quiet. Over the years, locals & visitors alike have decided a 5 mph speed limit would be in effect during the derby. In exchange, everyone is given a few quiet days on the lake.

Bass Lake Fishing Derby, Sunset at Wishon Cove, Millers Landing

How to Sign Up?

All participants need to register for the derby.  You can do that on-line via the Bass Lake Chamber website (on-line registration closes by noon on the Thursday before the event).  Miss that cutoff, not to worry!  You can register in person at Derby Headquarters up to 9:00am Saturday morning.  So grab your fishing license, get your gear ready and come enjoy a great weekend at the lake!

Alex Silgalis

Alex founded® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.


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