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Come Join Us for a Great Fishing Event

April 20 @ 6:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Nature Center Fish Derby At Cachuma Lake 

Fish are Biting!

Perfect Weather Forecasted for the Fish Derby on April 20th and 21st, 2024.


Thousands in cash and merchandise prizes!

Have fun while helping to support the Neal Taylor Nature Center

The Neal Taylor Nature Center 27th Annual Fish Derby:


  • At Cachuma Lake


  • April 20th and 21st


  • Rain or Shine


  • $5000.00 plus in cash prizes


  • Thousands more in merchandise prizes


  • Registration:
  • $40.00 – On-line through April 17, 2024
  • $45.00-On-site Fri. 4/19 to Sun. 4/21/24
  • Ages 4-15 years old always – $10.00


The derby is the annual fundraiser

for the Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization.           

 For more information, call the Trout Derby Hotline at (805) 693-8381.

The Neal Taylor Nature Center’s

27th Annual Fish Derby

27th Annual Fish Derby April 20th and 21st

The Fish Derby is the major fundraiser for The Neal Taylor Nature at Cachuma Lake which is a non-profit organization.


There is good news for all types of anglers! This year’s Fish Derby will again include prize categories for multiple types of fish such as crappie, bass, catfish, trout, and carp. The prize pool has been increased this year which means everyone has a chance to win great cash prizes, fishing gear, and more!

Anglers of all ages are encouraged to enter the Nature Center’s 27th Annual Fish Derby on April 20 and 21, 2024. Registration fee for adults is $40.00 – Online through April 17, 2024, and $45.00-On-site Fri. 4/19 to Sun. 4/21/24 and Youth Registration for ages 4 – 15 years old is always $10. Registration forms are available online at www.TroutDerby.org or at Cachuma Lake Park entry gate, store, marina, Nature Center, and local businesses. For more information leave your name and address on the Derby Hotline (805) 693-8381 or visit www.TROUTDERBY.org


Cash prizes amounting to more than $5,000 plus thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise prizes will be awarded in many categories and to anglers of all ages. Certain prizes are designated for children and for teens.


All anglers 16 years and older must have a fishing license which may be purchased at the marina.


Free arts and crafts activities will be offered to children Saturday afternoon of Derby weekend and the Nature Center will also host a special Books & Treasure Sale on Saturday.



The Derby fishing begins at 6 a.m. on Saturday, April 20 and ends at 12 noon on April 21, 2024. Contestants must fish in Cachuma Lake during the tournament hours and may fish from shore at any time during the Derby including Saturday night. A flare will be fired at the harbor to start the Derby on Saturday and to end the Derby on Sunday.




Due to the threat of quagga mussels, Cachuma Lake has a 30-day quarantine and inspection of all boats except those with a Cachuma Lake Tag and kayaks/canoes.

Please check for updates to the inspection protocol at www.sbparks.org

Other Fish Derby Activities


Visit the Neal Taylor Nature Center:

Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Sunday 10 a.m. – 12 noon

Admission:  Donations Welcomed.


Children’s Activities will be on the lawn in front of the Nature Center from 1 – 3 p.m. on Saturday. Donations Welcomed.


Purchase Raffle tickets (open to general public) for valuable prizes starting 12 noon on

Fri. April 19, 2024, and throughout the Fish Derby. The winning tickets will be drawn at the Sunday Awards Program which begins at 1:00 pm at the Fireside Theater. You need not be present to win the raffle.


Books and Treasures Sale: At the Nature Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday.


Awards Program at the Fireside Theater on Sunday, April 21st at 1:00 p.m.


To make reservations for cabins, yurts, individual camp sites or full hook-up sites go to:  www.sbparks.org/reservations or call (805) 686-5050. For other camping information call (805) 686-5054.


More about the Derby:

The Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake will hold the 27th Annual Fish Derby on April 20th and 21st, 2024

The derby is the major fund-raising event for the Center that was founded by the late Neal Taylor in 1988.

Over $5,000 in cash prizes in various fish categories will be awarded (see Prize schedule below) Registered individuals must be 4 years or older to participate. A registered angler is eligible for door prizes to be given away at the Awards Program on Sunday at 1:00 pm at Fireside Theater. Door prize winners must be present; cash prizes will be mailed if the winner is not present.

Entry fees are:

$40.00 – Online through April 17, 2024

$45.00-On-site Fri. 4/19 to Sun. 4/21/24

Ages 4-15 years old always – $10.00


Children’s activities will be organized on the lawn in front of the Nature Center on Saturday from 1 to 3 pm. This event is well attended with children having a great time working on arts and crafts projects. Lots of laughing and fun activities; parents have a great time too!  Admission is free, donations are welcomed.


Folks are encouraged to visit the Nature Center during the children’s activities or at other hours during the weekend. Knowledgeable docents and volunteers will gladly show visitors the exhibits on plants, animals, and other topics. There are many hands-on objects for children to experience.


One and a half hour wildlife cruises on the Lake, led by the Park Naturalist, are $18 for adults; $12 for children 5 to 12 and 62+ years. Reservations required:  Call the Naturalist office at 805-688-4515


A book and treasures sale will be held at the Nature Center Saturday from 10am until 2pm. This is also a fund-raising event for the Nature Center and visitors are encouraged to browse and buy the hundreds of books and other special items.


Visitors may purchase raffle tickets for valuable prizes beginning at noon on Friday, April 19

and continuing through the weekend until Sunday noon. Winning tickets will be drawn at

the Sunday Awards Program, beginning at 1:00 at Fireside Theater. Winners do not need to be



Folks may call the Fish Derby Hotline for up-to-date information (805) 693-8381 or visit us at www.TroutDerby.org.



For additional information and/or to receive a registration in the mail, leave your name and address on the hotline (805) 693-8381 or register online or download a registration by visiting  www.TroutDerby.org


Fish Derby Cash Prizes


$599 Heaviest Trout Caught


$300 2nd Heaviest Trout Caught

$599 Heaviest Bass Caught


$300 2nd Heaviest Bass Caught


$599 Heaviest Crappie Caught

$300 2nd Heaviest Crappie Caught

$599 Heaviest Catfish Caught


$300 2nd Heaviest Catfish Caught

$300 Heaviest Carp Caught


$150 2nd Heaviest Carp Caught

$100 THE Neal Taylor “Young Angler Award”

First Catch by an angler 15 years or younger on $50 Sat. and $50 Sun.


$125 Heaviest Fish caught by Girl 11-15 yrs.

$75 2nd Heaviest Fish caught by Girl 11-15 yrs.

$50 3rd Heaviest Fish caught by Girl 11-15 yrs.

$125 Heaviest Fish caught by Boy 11-15 yrs.

$75 2nd Heaviest Fish caught by Boy 11-15 yrs.

$50 3rd Heaviest Fish caught by Boy 11-15 yrs.

$125 The Dutch Wilson Prize (the fish caught by the oldest angler)

$25 each to 10 kids 10 yrs. & to first make the leader board

Rod & Reel to top 10 kids 10 yrs. To first make the leader board


A Fundraising Benefit for the

Neal Taylor Nature Center

a Nonprofit Organization, and in Cooperation with Cachuma Lake Recreation Area


Bronze Sponsor

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Royal Coachman

Mechanics Bank

LoGuercio Family in Memory of

“Peanut” Pam LoGuercio

Martin & Constance Silver

Derby Sponsor

Vince & Linda Gomez

Tracy Angel in Memory of Ray Angel

Jerry & Sandi Witcher

Dr. Lowell & Shirley McLellan

Cal-Coast Refrigeration

Harrison Ace Hardware

Dean & Lisa Hansen


Reid & Robin Cederlof

John & Kelly Ann McDonald

Robert & Diana Crew

David & Mario Borgatello

Los Alamos Men’s Club

Judy Duncan

Rotary Club of Solvang

Community West Bank

About Neal Taylor:

The Nature Center was founded in 1988 when the dream of naturalist, Neal Taylor, became a reality. Neal Taylor began fishing as a child in the Eastern Sierras with his father. As a teenager, Neal began entering fly fishing tournaments and started his own fly-tying business, Taylor Ties Flies. This business grew to have over a dozen employees. Neal fished all over the world and conducted fly fishing instructional camps throughout the Western United States. He taught fly fishing to several celebrities and to three United States Presidents. Neal Taylor is the author of “Fly Fishing” which is available in the Nature Center Gift Shop. Neal also taught various college level courses and was a frequent and popular speaker for business, professional, service, and recreational organizations. Neal served as Naturalist for the Santa Barbara County Parks Department for over 18 years before retiring.

Neal was a favorite of youth groups of all ages and his legendary storytelling skills and humor added vitality and excitement to all the walks and talks he once led. Neal, until his passing in Feb. 2011 continued to be very active as a Nature Center Board member and was a lead participant in the various fishing workshops held at the Nature Center, including the widely attended annual Trout Derby.  With Neal’s passing in Feb. 2011, it was proposed to rename the Cachuma Lake Nature Center in his honor to The Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake.


About The Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake

The Neal Taylor Nature Center (NTNC), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is located within Cachuma Recreational Area in a picturesque old ranch house. Developed and operated by a corps of committed volunteers, it offers exhibits on the local valley and mountain environment for all ages, emphasizing hands-on exhibits for children of all ages. There is also a Native Garden behind the Nature Center.


Nature Center & Gift Store Hours

Thursday through Saturday:  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Admission to the Nature Center: Donations appreciated.


April 20
6:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


Neal Taylor Nature Center
2265 CA-154
Santa Barbara, CA 93105 United States
+ Google Map
+1 805-693-0691
View Venue Website


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