Lake McSwain Fall Trout Derby is
planned for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2023

MERCED, CA — Sept. 14, 2023 —It’s time again. The Lake McSwain Fall Trout Derby will be held this year on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1. Anglers can begin fishing at 6 a.m. the first day with the derby ending at noon the following day.

The Fall Derby will continue to rely on the smart phone app FishDonkey.

“We are excited. Fall is a spectacular time of year to be on the lake with friends and family,” said Brooke Gutierrez, Director of MID Parks and Recreation. “We have plenty of fish right now and we know everyone will have a good time. With fall weather and scenery, there is no way not to win at this event.”

Some campsites are still available at Lake McSwain and additional sites are available at nearby Lake McClure.

A new feature on the website allows visitors to virtually travel through the campgrounds and then select the site they want. For reservations, click here or visit and click “Book Now.”

All registration for the Trout Derby and payments must be made through the FishDonkey app.

Participants are strongly encouraged to access the app early and become familiar with it before the Derby. All photos, videos and judging will be managed through the app. On the day of the derby, participants will need to have both their smart phone – with the app available – as well as a non-expandable bump board for measuring and photographing their catch.

Anglers can practice using the FishDonkey app ahead of the tournament by joining a tournament in the app called “Practice Entering a Fish.”

The app will work without an internet connection at the lake during the derby.

Participants will need to join in advance, and should open the app before heading out. They will need to tap on the name of the tournament (Fall 2023 Lake McSwain Trout Derby), followed by “Leaderboard/Enter a Fish.” This will have the tournament fully loaded on a phone, even in poor internet areas.

Fish should be entered in accordance with the app’s instructions while at the lake. Tapping on the fish icon will open the Digital Livewell and show any fish awaiting an internet connection to be moved to the leaderboard. After returning to an area with internet or WiFI, participants can then open their Digital Livewell and leave it open until the fish are moved to the leaderboard.

To watch a tutorial video for FishDonkey, please click here.

  • This year’s categories will include the following:
  • Longest trout for $2,000
  • Stringer with three longest fish combined: $2,000
  • Wild card – one adult winner is randomly selected for $500 prize
  • Kids Wild Card – a winner under 16 will be randomly selected to receive a fishing pole and tackle box.(Sponsored by Splash N Dash and the Reel Deal Market and Café at Lake McSwain).

The Reel Deal Market & Café at Lake McSwain will be open 6am-6pm for the derby. Breakfast burritos and lunch will be offered, as will gear, tackle and bait – and the bump board needed to measure anglers’ entries.

“Our fishing derbies remain popular, and we want to let our anglers know about the event as early as possible,” said Gutierrez. “As always, it’s going to be a great weekend.”


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