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George Huertero of Olivehrust fishes with his son during the Marysville Kiwanis Club's annual Youth Fishing Derby on May 16, 2015, at Ellis Lake in Marysville.

The 70th annual Jim Watson Youth Fishing Derby that is set to take place this Saturday at Ellis Lake in Marysville will provide an extra incentive for those looking to take part.

Scheduled to take place from 6:30-11 a.m., this year’s fishing derby sponsored by the Marysville Kiwanis Club will not only allow participants who take part to be eligible for prizes, but it also will help the city clean up Ellis Lake by giving those who catch carp a chance to cash in.

The invasive fish species has been attributed to poor water quality at the lake and a large number were recently removed in an effort to help clear up the water. 

The fish are credited with stirring up lake sediment which caused Ellis Lake to experience high levels of phosphorus, the city previously said. 

As part of a two-phase cleanup process that was initiated by the city, 253 “large carp” were taken out of Ellis Lake after a four-day removal process, Marysville City Manager Jim Schaad said during a Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors meeting in late April.

“In the process they also captured a significant number of other species,” Schaad said in April. “Large-mouth bass were the primary species. Caught and released, 288 large-mouth bass were found in the lake. Quite a thriving lake, surprising to me somewhat.”

According to Marysville City Councilman Dominique Belza, money is being offered during Saturday’s fishing derby to encourage increased removal of the carp.

He said for those that catch the fish, a dollar an inch will be given by the city for every carp that is caught and turned in. He said the city will pay for each carp up to 24 inches.

“People can turn in multiple carp so long as they are under 24 inches,” Belza said. “They can turn in larger (ones), but they’re only getting paid for 24.”

For the regular portion of the annual fishing derby, Ellis Lake will be stocked with 766 pounds of live catfish, estimated to be about 800 fish.

“We’re excited to be back at Ellis Lake for this wonderful community event,” John Nicoletti, event chairperson for the derby, said in a statement. “More than 1,000 local young people are expected to register in this year’s event. We invite all local families with children ages 3 to 16 to join us and participate in this fun, free community event.”

Registration for the derby will take place from 6:30-10 a.m. at 1205 D St. in Marysville. The event also will have a free pancake breakfast for all families who participate. First 5 Yuba, Playzeum and other exhibitors will be at the event and hot dogs, soda and bait will be available for purchase on-site.

To qualify for prizes, a catch must be registered no later than 10 a.m. with the prize ceremony set to begin at 11 a.m. Prizes include outdoor recreation/sporting equipment and other items.

“The City of Marysville is so proud that this event is held on Ellis Lake each year,” Marysville Mayor Chris Branscum said in a statement. “Anytime we can play a small role in helping young people develop an affinity for an outdoor activity like fishing, it’s wonderfully rewarding.”

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