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Kids cast off at Castaic Lake

Posted: October 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Dozens of children donned life jackets, grabbed fishing poles and raced toward boats at the Castaic Lake Lagoon on Saturday in hopes of getting a bite.

The annual Catch a Special Thrill, or CAST, event, now in its seventh year, took place at the lagoon with about 50 kids participating. The program is part of the nonprofit CAST for Kids Foundation, which puts on similar events around the country for children with special needs. The foundation also sponsors fishing programs geared toward low-income children and veterans.

The Castaic Lake event is a partnership among a variety of government agencies, including the California Department of Water Resources and the county Department of Parks and Recreation, and local community groups, including the Friends of Castaic Lake, the Castaic Lake Water Agency, the city of Santa Clarita, the Lions Club and the Castaic Bass Club.

“This is a great thing to be involved in,” said David Inouye, the chief of water conservation and land and water use section of the Department of Water Resources. “This event gives kids an opportunity to go out on the water and fish for the first time, maybe the only time in their lives.”

Inouye has been involved in the event at Castaic Lake for all seven years it has been held and said the event is now double the size of what it was when it first began.

One of the reasons Inouye cited for the program’s growth was the growing partnership between CAST and local fishermen and volunteers. Lori Bennett, the superintendent of Castaic Lake, said she could remember a time when it was difficult to find fishermen willing to volunteer for the event.

“They were more reluctant to participate because of that unknown element of what the program entailed,” Bennett explained. “But now they can’t wait.”

Donna Iljin, whose husband, Mike, is the president of the Castaic Bass Club, said both she and her husband look forward to the event every year.

“It does your heart good to see the kids smiling, having fun,” she said. “It’s just awesome.”



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