Willard Meyer Recreation Area near Tobias to host annual Free Family Fishing Day, Fishing and Casting Derby

TOBIAS – The Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District, Beatrice Optimist Club, the Swan 5 Advisory Council and Big Indian Archers are hosting the 17th Annual Free Family Fishing Day and Youth Fishing & Casting Derby this Saturday at the Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area near Tobias.

Also referred to as Swan Lake, Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area is located three miles east and two miles north of Tobias.

The day also coincides with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission’s statewide free fishing day, so no state park entry permits or fishing permits are required.

Events for this year include the Homestead 4-H Shooting Club BB Gun Shoot and J&J Outdoors hands-on trapping demonstration. Other events include a Youth Fishing Derby, Optimist Club Casting Contest, Hands-On Archery Demonstration by Big Indian Archers, Tri County Burn Association Demo, Boat Rides with Boat Safety Presentations and Nebraska Game & Parks Fishery Display.

The Fishing Derby will be held from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m., with check-in from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Limited bait, rods and reels are available by pre-registration only. Medals and prizes will be awarded in four age groups: 5 and under, 6-9, 10-12 and 13-18. The awards are for the largest, smallest and most fish caught.

Pre-registration is required and the initial deadline was Thursday. However, Lower Big Blue NRD assistant manager Scott Sobotka says those who haven’t registered yet can do so by noon on Friday.

A free hot dog lunch will be provided to Fishing Derby participants and family. Sobotka encourages all area youth and their families to both register and attend this annual event.

“We do this in conjunction with the Nebraska Game and Parks’ free fishing day,” Sobotka said. “So, it’s an opportunity for the youths and families to come out and enjoy the day, and to come out and (enjoy fishing) for the first time.”

The Nebraska National Guard will also be landing a helicopter at the event.

The Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area has a swimming beach, playground equipment and electrical and non-electrical camping areas. During the fishing derby and boat safety presentations,  boats will not be allowed on the lake.

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