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Fishing derby brings out seniors to Walton Lake

Despite rain and clouds, attendance hits the century mark
Almost a dozen partially-filled jars of bait lay scattered on the ground.
   Afton Slaughter, wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt, picked up one she liked and decided to give it a try. There must have been 50 jars in all in her white bucket that lay close by, but that was only a small glimpse of her stash.
   "Oh, I probably have at least 150 more in the pickup," she said, carefully placing her choice on the hook. "But none of it is doing any good."
   Although her success at this point totaled a couple of bites and a crawfish, the Prineville resident seemed determined.
   Slaughter, who was at the lake with her husband, Lee, and close friends Harlan and Geneva Belcher of Metolious, placed the bait snug on the hook and casted out once again.
   "It isn't nearly as good this year," she said, about the fishing.
   Slaughter was a part of the 100 participants who made the trip to the Walton Lake Senior Fishing Derby Wednesday, now in its eighth year. The weather was gloomy and overcast, with rain sprinkling throughout the day, but for the organizers and the fishing enthusiasts, it didn't seem to matter.
   "We just like it," said Marjorie Staples of Redmond, who has been coming up to the derby with Evelyn Terry of Terrebonne since the event's inaugural year. "I think it's a good thing to be able to come out here with everybody."
   The day began with registration at 7:30 a.m. and ended around 11:30 a.m. with final weigh-ins. After the fishing was over, a variety of prizes were awarded, with no one senior coming away empty handed.
   "I think it turned out really great," said Octava Best-Beck, information receptionist at Ochoco Ranger Station. "We got some really good prizes from not just the local merchants, but from individual people."
   All in all, more than a dozen businesses and organizations contributed prizes and equipment for the event.
   Coming away with the trophy for the biggest fish was Richard LaRose of Terrebonne. His catch came in at 14 « inches and weighed 1 pound 4 ounces. The prize for the most weight of fish was awarded to Hank Mills of Redmond, who finished the day with his limit of five which weighed in at 3 pounds 8 ounces. The oldest fisherperson at the event was 87-year-old Stan Sherwood of Bend. John Sutton drove the farthest, coming from Eureka, Calif., while the biggest fish story prize went to Don Swanhart of Madras. Jerry Rowe of Spray won the casting contest for the male division, while Betty Welch of Prineville won for females.