The Putnam County Sheriff's Office along with Kalida Fish & Game Club, Pheasants Forever, and an area scouts troop sponsored a free fishing derby for area youth last Saturday, August 24 at Kalida Fish & Game's private fishing pond. Above, a few of the youth practice their casting skills - Putnam Sentinel
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office along with Kalida Fish & Game Club, Pheasants Forever, and an area scouts troop sponsored a free fishing derby for area youth last Saturday, August 24 at Kalida Fish & Game's private fishing pond. Above, a few of the youth practice their casting skills. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Roughly 200 area residents, including over 100 kids came out to Kalida’s Fish & Game for a free youth fishing derby held last Saturday, August 24. The idea initiated from Sheriff Brian Siefker, who noted that it had around 20 years since the last youth fishing derby. It was once regular event, and given the number of folks who showed up to enjoy the day while teaching kids the fundamentals of fishing, it may become one again.

“It’s about getting young kids outside,” Sheriff Siefker said. “Giving kids the opportunity to learn, come out, and fish.” He also added that the idea was inspired by the annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ event that occurs every year in the weeks before Christmas.

Bait, food, refreshments, and door prizes were all offered for free for all participants. Given that the derby occurred on private land, not even a fishing license was necessary. The youngsters who reeled in the top five biggest fish also went home with a brand new fishing pole set, courtesy of Kalida Fish & Game Club. In addition to the Sheriff’s Office and the club, the event was sponsored by Pheasants Forever and cleanup was arranged by a local scout troop.