Itís time for the annual Lake Eaton Kidsí Fishing Derby at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionís (FWC) Ocala Conservation Center and Youth Camp. The derby will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, starting at 8:30 a.m. for children ages 6-12.
Advance registration is required, and space is limited to the first 100 children, who will also get a free derby T-shirt. To sign up, call the FWCís Northeast Regional Office in Ocala at 352-732-1225 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., weekdays. The Ocala Conservation Center is 8.5 miles north of State Road 40 off County Road 314 in the Ocala National Forest.
Everything the kids need to fish, including cane poles, bait and instruction, will be provided by the FWC. The kids will fish from a pier. For safety reasons and to avoid tangled lines, do not bring your own rod and reel to this event.
In addition to fishing, there will be a casting contest, an arts and crafts activity, and an all-time favorite called ďBugs and Critters.Ē In this activity, the kids get to wade into the lake with dip nets and scoop up fish, bugs and other aquatic critters. An FWC biologist uses the experience to teach kids about the aquatic ecosystem. The kids will get wet, so they should bring a change of clothes and proper footwear.