What began as a Community Orientated Policing project (COPS) for the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Fishing Derby has become an annual event that is now in its 24th year. Since the Fishing Derby started in 1999, thousands of local children have had the opportunity to fish with law enforcement officers, emergency medical responders, firefighters, and local fishing enthusiasts. It’s a chance to show kids a different side of law enforcement, without the uniform, duty belt, and squad car. They can see that we are people, too - we cast, bait and tie our hooks - just like everyone else. The real joy of this event is connecting with the kids and the looks on their faces when they set the hook on a fish - some for the first time in their lives.
“The Youth Fishing Derby is designed to teach kids to fish, connect them with the outdoors and develop trusting relationships with our deputies and other emergency responders within our community,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen. “This positive interaction in an informal and relaxed setting gives these kids a better understanding of what we do and who we are.”
In 2018, the event was moved off the Minnesota River (then known as the Youth Catfish Derby) and has been held on Cedar Lake in New Prague ever since. This is a volunteer and sponsor-driven event that provides the kids with everything they need for a day of fishing on the lake, including fishing gear, food and beverages, prizes for everyone. All the boats are privately owned and captained by volunteers. The event is funded by corporate and individual sponsors with a common interest in furthering our mission.
This year’s Youth Fishing Derby will be held on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023. The derby will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end with an awards ceremony at approximately 1:00 p.m. Kids aged 10 to 15, who live in or attend school in Scott County, are eligible to participate in this free event. Limited spaces are also available for participants using wheelchairs.
Applications will be accepted from May 16th and will stay open until all spots are filled. This event is FREE but space is limited and priority will be given to individuals who have not participated in the past.
Prizes will be awarded, and all kids will receive participation gifts. Bait, fishing gear, food and beverages are all provided.
All registrations will be done online. Please visit the Scott County website at https://www.scottcountymn.gov/sheriff, where the Fishing Derby registration form can be found under Sheriff’s Office “Community Programs” or https://www.scottcountymn.gov/1564/Annual-Youth-Fishing-Derby.
If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Deputy Max Kes at [email protected] or 952-292-8330.