It’s time for the annual Lake Eaton Kids’ Fishing Derby at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Ocala Conservation Center and Youth Camp. The derby, for children ages 6-12, will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Advance registration is required, and space is limited to the first 100 children. To sign up, call the FWC’s Northeast Regional Office in Ocala at 352-732-1225 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Ocala Conservation Center is 8.5 miles north of State Road 40 off County Road 314 in the Ocala National Forest.

Everything needed to participate, 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 “Bugs and Critters.” In this activity, the participants 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 about the aquatic ecosystem. The kids will get wet, so they should bring a change of clothes and proper footwear.

News Reporter