Grab your fishing pole! The Rose Valley Lakes fourth annual Fishing Derby is scheduled for May 17.

The upper lake will have two contests for first, second and third place, one for children ages 4 to 9 and one for youths ages 10 to 15.  The lower lake will have a contest for participants ages 16 to 21. A fishing license is required for all participants age 16 or older.

Registration on the day of the event is $10. A reduced fee of $7 is available for early registration using a form available at the Ojai Ranger Station (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday), the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday), Ojai Valley Surplus, Oak View Barber Shop, Dahl’s Market and True Value Hardware Store at the Y if mailed by Saturday. All proceeds will support programs at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.

Parking starts at 7 a.m.  The derby ends at 10:30 a.m. An adventure pass, $5 for the day or $30 per year, is needed to park. The Forest Service will sell them at the event. Allow an extra 10 minutes for drive time because of the single-lane area near the rock quarry.

If the event rains out or the road closes, the event will be rescheduled for May 24. Bring layered clothing as it is cold when the derby starts at 8 a.m.

We are looking forward to our best fishing derby yet, with new sponsors joining in and the Ojai Ranger District clearing out additional fishing access along the edge of the lower lake. Event sponsors are the Ojai Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest, the Ojai Chapter of the Los Padres Forest Association and the Fillmore Fish Hatchery.  Prizes have been provided by Jeff Miller, J&T Tackle, Ed Baker, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and Ojai Surplus.

Mike Havstad is the derby organizer, president of the Ojai chapter of Los Padres Forest Association and director of the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.