Merced County Times Newspaper
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Anglers: Get ready for the Lake McSwain Fall Trout Derby

The Lake McSwain Fall Trout Derby is back – and it’s slated for the first weekend in October.

Based on the overwhelming popularity and interest, the Fall Derby will continue to rely on the smart phone app FishDonkey.

“We’re expecting another great turnout and hopefully some great weather,” said Brooke Gutierrez, Director of MID Parks and Recreation. “This is an excellent opportunity for families and friends to get together and spend some time at the lake.”

The FishDonkey app allows participants to photograph, measure and record their entries using their smart phone.

The Derby is scheduled to begin at 6AM on Saturday, October 1, and conclude at 12PM on Sunday, October 2. The entry fee will be $35 per adult. Kids under 16 fish free with adult entry: parents can simply click on the “Kids Fish” option to upload their fish for judging.

Anglers must additionally pay the parks entry fee of $8 per day or $30-$50 for overnight camping. Some limited campsites are still available at nearby Lake McClure. For reservations, click here or visit

Except for camping, all registration and payments for the derby must be made through the FishDonkey app.

The Reel Deal Market & Café at Lake McSwain will be open during the derby. Breakfast and lunch will be available from 6AM to 4:30PM. The store hours for bait and tackle will be 6AM to 7PM.

Participants are strongly encouraged to access the app early and become familiar with it before the Derby. All photos, videos and judging will be managed through the app. On the day of the Derby, participants will need to have both their smart phone – with the app available – as well as a valid non- expandable bump board. The bump board must have a 90-degree bend which marks 0 and at least 1⁄4 inch lines to measure and photograph their catch. A small number of bump boards will be made available at the marina.

The FishDonkey app has a feature allowing participants to practice uploading their fish in preparation for the Derby. It also provides information about use in poor cell-phone-reception areas, such as Lake McSwain.

Once the app is loaded onto a smart phone, participants can select “Fish in a Tournament.” Then a search window will appear. Participants can then enter “Lake McSwain.” This will take anglers to the Lake McSwain Derby page with all the required registration and information.

The Fall Trout Derby categories will include the following:

  • Longest trout for $2,000
  • Stringer with three longest fish combined: $2,000
  • Wild card – one adult winner is randomly selected for $500 prize
  • Kids Wild Card – one youth under 16 will be randomly selected to receive a fishing pole and 
tackle box.
  • All paid participants are automatically entered into a free raffle Sunday at noon at the marina

“The fishing has been great up here,” said Gutierrez. “We are excited for this and looking forward to having everyone come up and enjoy themselves.” 
For further information, please visit www.Lake

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