Like a songbird newly returned from its winter vacation down south, another annual sign of spring has arrived.
York City has announced plans for the city's yearly fishing derby, a popular event that challenges children 15 and younger to fish for trout.
The derby, now in its 14th year, is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Kiwanis Lake, located at North Newberry Street and Parkway Boulevard.
On days when Mother Nature cooperates, the derby attracts as many as 250 kids, said Tom Landis, the city's director of parks and recreation.
The event is Pennsylvania's lone kids-only fishing derby scheduled on the opening day of trout season, Landis said.
"Because of the popularity of the event, we draw quite a few kids in from the county," he said.
Volunteers will be on hand to help parents and kids new to fishing. City ordinance reserves fishing at Kiwanis Lake for kids and people with disabilities.
Each year, the Izaak Walton League stocks Kiwanis Lake with about 1,000 trout, most of which are caught before summer, Landis said.
The derby's rules for catching fish are consistent with state law. Trout must be 7 inches or longer to keep. An individual is limited to keeping no more than five fish, Landis said.
First-, second- and third-place prizes for the biggest trout caught will be awarded to fisher-kids in two categories -- ages 10 and under and ages 10 to 15.
Prizes will also be awarded to kids who catch the biggest non-trout species like bass, sunfish or carp, Landis said.
Families are encouraged to arrive early to register and grab a good spot.
-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdis patch.com.