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HANSEN DAM LURES ANGLERS WITH A TROUT FISHING DERBY.

Byline: Lisa M. Sodders Staff Writer

HANSEN DAM - Fish don't make 6-year-old Brittney Avantes squirm.

``Oh! There's the piece that I used!'' the Glendale girl said, as patrol lifeguard Aaron Wall removed a pink, five-bead lure from inside a large trout she caught Saturday.

Brittney and her father, Sergio, 31, were at the fifth annual Fishing Derby at Hansen Dam, sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the California Department of Fish & Game, and the Los Angeles Rod & Reel Foundation. About 300 people came for the morning session.

Father and daughter were up at 3 a.m. Saturday and at the dam's fishing area by 5:30 a.m. Brittney, who said she wants to become a veterinarian, teacher and dentist when she grows up, has been fishing since she was 4. She caught three fish Saturday, including a trout weighing 2 pounds 8 ounces.

``She grabs them out of the water with her bare hands,'' Sergio Avantes said proudly.

``I don't worry,'' Brittney said. ``I always wash my hands when I get home.''

The biggest fish caught that morning was a 5-pound 3-ounce trout caught by 7-year-old Juan Aguilera Jr. of North Hollywood. Struggling to hold the giant fish, Juan said he prefers pizza for dinner and would probably give his catch to his brother, Marcos, 6, who loves to eat fish.

The patrol lifeguard, Wall, who helps many young anglers clean their catch, said most of the children were fascinated by the process.

One 12-year-old boy, however, took one look and lost his lunch.

``They're very interested in how the insides look,'' Wall said. ``I give them a little biology lesson.''

Glendale resident Peter Aguilar, 60, gave a few fishing pointers to his friend, Lois Brewster, 50, also of Glendale.

``It's an excellent location; I'd like to see them stock it a little better,'' Aguilar said. ``This is the biggest fishing spot in the Valley. I like to see kids out here, especially with their daddies. This is a great place for kids and their daddies.''

Saturday was 9-year-old Adam DeLucia's first time fishing. His parents, Beverly, 44, and Frank, 49, of Sunland got him some help from officials who took time to instruct new fishermen. But casting took a while to master: Adam managed to bean his father twice with the weighted line.

``He has no hook, so it's OK,'' Frank said, laughing. ``Otherwise, I would have been skewered.''

``What's that old saying?'' Beverly asked. ```Teach a man to fish... .'''

``Teach a man to fish and you go to the hospital!'' Frank rejoined.

Saturday's derby featured trout, but the Sept. 11 derby will focus on catfish and the Dec. 4 Float Tube Derby will again feature trout.

For more information on fishing derbies and other Recreation and Parks activities, visit the Web site at www.laparks.org or call (888) 527-2757.

Lisa M. Sodders, (818) 713-3663

lisa.sodders(at)dailynews.com

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2 photos

Photo:

(1) Eager anglers line the water's edge for the fifth annual Fishing Derby held Saturday at Hansen Dam Aquatic Center in Lake View Terrace. About 300 people came to the morning session.

(2) David Rosales snags a good-sized trout Saturday within 30 minutes of joining the annual Fishing Derby at Hansen Dam.

Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 4, 2004
Words:551
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