12,000 pounds of trout already planted for 27th Annual Neal Taylor Nature Center Fish Derby

The fish will be biting at Cachuma Lake the weekend of April 20-21, and multiple anglers will be looking to take advantage of that as the lake’s Neal Taylor Nature Center will be holding its 27th Annual Fish Derby.

The Fish Derby is the major fundraiser for The Nature Center at Cachuma Lake, which is a nonprofit organization.

This year’s Fish Derby will again include prize categories for multiple types of fish such as crappie, bass, catfish, trout, and carp. The prize pool has been increased this year which means everyone has a chance to win great cash prizes, fishing gear, and more!

Anglers of all ages are encouraged to enter the derby on April 20 and 21. Registration fee for adults is $40 if sent in advance or $45 if paid on-site Friday, April 19 to Sunday, April 21, and Youth Registration for ages 4-15 years old is always $10. Registration forms are available at Cachuma Lake Park entry gate, store, marina, Nature Center, and local businesses. To receive information and a registration form in the mail, leave your name and address on the hotline (805) 693-8381 or visit TROUTDERBY.org

Cash prizes amounting to more than $5,000 plus thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise prizes will be awarded in many categories and to anglers of all ages. Certain prizes are designated for children and for teens. 

All anglers 16 years and older must have a fishing license, which may be purchased at the marina. 

Free arts and crafts activities will be offered to children Saturday afternoon of Derby weekend and the Nature Center will also host a special Books & Treasure Sale on Saturday.

The Derby fishing begins at 6 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, and ends at 12 noon on April 21. Contestants must fish in Cachuma Lake during the tournament hours and may fish from shore at any time during the Derby including Saturday night. A flare will be fired at the harbor to start the Derby on Saturday and to end the Derby on Sunday.

Due to the threat of quagga mussels, Cachuma Lake has a 30-day quarantine and inspection of all boats except those with a Cachuma Lake Tag and kayaks/canoes. 

Please check for updates to the inspection protocol at sbparks.org

Other Fish Derby activities include:

Visit the Neal Taylor Nature Center:

Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission: Donations welcomed.

Children’s Activities will be on the lawn in front of the Nature Center from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Donations welcomed.

Purchase raffle tickets (open to general public) for valuable prizes starting at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 19, and throughout the Fish Derby. The winning tickets will be drawn at the Sunday Awards Program, which begins at 1 p.m. at the Fireside Theater. You need not be present to win the raffle.

One-and-a-half hour wildlife cruises on the lake, led by the Park Naturalist, are $18 for adults; $12 for children 5 to 12 and 62+ years. Reservations required: Call the Naturalist office at 805-688-4515

Books and Treasures Sale: At the Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Awards Program at the Fireside Theater on Sunday, April 21, at 1 p.m. 

To make reservations for cabins, yurts, individual campsites, or full hook-up sites go to  www.sbparks.org/reservations or call (805) 686-5050. For other camping information, call (805) 686-5054.

About the Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake

The Neal Taylor Nature Center (NTNC), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is located within Cachuma Recreational Area in a picturesque old ranch house. Developed and operated by a corps of committed volunteers, it offers exhibits on the local valley and mountain environment for all ages, emphasizing hands-on exhibits for children of all ages. There is also a Native Garden behind the Nature Center.