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Kids Reel in Fun at Kiwanis Fish Derby

Next Saturday at 6:30 a.m. morning the call will go out and it will be controlled pandemonium at the City Hall fountain for several minutes while youngsters grab poles and get ready to fish.

“For some children, this is the only time they’re going to get to go fishing,” says longtime Kiwanis volunteer Frank Jeler says. For more than a quarter century Jeler has volunteered for the annual Trout Derby, organized by the Santa Clara Kiwanis Club. During that time he’s helped countless kids get an early taste of fishing.

For the event, the fountain behind Santa Clara City Hall will be stocked with trout and bait and poles provided. Children between 3 and 12 get to “go fishing” from 6:30 to 11:00 a.m. Any fish that are not caught Saturday morning are netted out, cleaned and donated to Operation Share.


It’s no small feat to prepare the fountain for the Derby. The work begins Friday afternoon.

First, chemicals are added to remove the chlorine from the water. Then nine tons of ice — more costly than the fish — chills the water down to 55 degrees. Finally 1,250 trout, from a trout farm near Calistoga, go into the water. Kiwanis volunteers even spend Friday night in a motor home at city hall, babysitting the fish.

The Fish Derby is Saturday, April 21 from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the City Hall “pond” at El Camino and Lincoln. The event is free and open to children between 3 and 12 years old. Poles and bait are supplied.

Santa Clara Kiwanis Club organizes the Trout Derby, with support from a variety of community organizations including the City of Santa Clara, the Santa Clara Elks Club, the Santa Clara Lions Club, Mission City Community Fund, Santa Clara PAL, and Mel Cotton’s Sporting Goods.

Providing the manpower for events that draw the community together is a key part of the mission of Santa Clara Kiwanis. In addition to the Trout Derby, the service club supports the city’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, Arbor Day celebration and Fourth of July picnic.

To learn more about Santa Clara Kiwanis, visit or call (408) 247-7675.

Carolyn Schuk can be reached at


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