N.O. fishing rodeo to be held April 6

Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival to be held at New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park will host its Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival, the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country, April 6.

The 66-year-old event attracts more than 600 participants, who hit the park’s lakes to catch lunker bass to win bragging rights and trophies. And, unlike many bass-fishing tournaments, this nonprofessional rodeo encourages families and friends to enjoy a day in City Park.

Registration begins at 6 a.m. at the Casino Building (presently Morning Call Café). Fishing begins at 6:30 a.m., and weigh-in ends at 11 a.m. by the Bandstand.

Entry costs only $10 for adults (13 and older) and $5 for kids 12 years old and younger.

Visit http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/fishrodeo.html for details, online registration, registration forms, rules and regulations, and a fishing map.

The rodeo includes six categories:

• Baitcast, spincast or spinning reel (bass)

• Fly rod and reel (bass)

• Rio Grande Roundup for the team bringing in the heaviest stringer of cichlids.

• Junior division — for those 12 years old and younger catching the heaviest single bream or cichlid

• Champion’s Challenge — reserved for past first-place winners of the Bass category, who compete against one another for the largest bass

• Catfish Kids — for those 16 years and younger catching the three heaviest catfish

The free Fishtival, which includes music by a DJ, begins at 9 a.m. around the casino and bandstand area, and offers activities for young and old alike.

A special section for children by Wish To Fish Louisiana offers a casting contest for children ages 6 to 15, free casting and cast net-throwing lessons, and other activities.

Wildlife educators from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries will host demonstrations and exhibits, as well as their pellet-shooting trailer.

Other exhibitors include local artists; and ecology, wildlife and conservation groups; kayak displays; and live “critters” to pet.

There also will be the opportunity to buy $1 raffle tickets for fishing and outdoor gear including a fishing kayak, or to purchase a $5 raffle to win one of three fishing trips with Capts. C.T. Williams, Dudley Vandenborre and Aaron Gelfand.

The popular Mardi Gras toss of fishing tackle during the awards ceremony affords an opportunity to put up your hands and catch baits to fill up your tackle box.