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Washington Offers Special Needs Fishing Event at Merwin Hatchery
VANCOUVER - Children with disabilities will have a chance to reel in some trout during a special kids' fishing event July 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Merwin Fish Hatchery east of Woodland.

Young anglers can be registered for the 15th annual Merwin Special Needs Kids Day through June 30 by calling 1-800-899-4421.

The annual event, expected to draw more than 100 participants and their families, is sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pacific Power, the Go Play Outside Alliance of Washington (GoPAW) and PacifiCorp Energy.

The hatchery waters will be planted with up to 3,000 trout ranging in size from one to four pounds, all accessible by wheelchair. Volunteers will serve as one-on-one fishing coaches, assisting youngsters throughout the day.

Rods, reels, tackle and T-shirts will be provided for the young anglers to use and keep. A free barbecue lunch will be served, followed by fish painting, a casting contest and other activities.

Instituted in 1999, the annual fishing event draws youngsters from the Vancouver School for the Blind, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Emanuel Legacy, Kaiser Kids and Shriners hospitals. Sponsors are encouraging anyone with a special needs child to join in the fun.