Anglers save Hooked on Fishing event

Alec Bortolotto, 7, tries to hang on while the fish he just caught flails on the line.  - Margo Horner/The Mirror
Alec Bortolotto, 7, tries to hang on while the fish he just caught flails on the line.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

The 21st annual Federal Way Hooked on Fishing event at Steel Lake Park almost didn’t happen this year.

But thanks to the last-minute efforts of members of the Save Our Fish chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers, the event went off without a hitch.

“If it wasn’t for the Puget Sound Anglers, the event wouldn’t have even happened this year,” said Tarra Reardan, Federal Way cultural events and arts coordinator.

Trout Unlimited, the group that formerly put on the event, no longer had the resources to host the event.

“We stepped in here at the last minute because we thought this event should be continued because it’s been a part of the community for so many years,” said Frank Urabeck of Puget Sound Anglers.

On Saturday, more than 300 children ages 2 to 12 took turns lining the dock at Steel Lake and casting lines into a netted-off area packed with nearly 2,000 trout. It was easy fishing, and most children caught their two-fish limit within minutes. Some of the fish weighed as much as eight pounds.

Julia Bortolotto, 5, said she was looking forward to eating her fish that day for lunch. It was her first fishing trip.

Alec Bortolotto, 7, was a little more attached to his fish.

“He actually wanted to put it in the fish tank, but I didn’t think that would work,” said Alec’s father, Jeferson Bortolotto.

Larry Moe, of the Puget Sound Anglers, said the fishing event was a great opportunity for children who might not otherwise have gotten to try fishing.

“We do want them to get hooked on fishing rather than all the other things there are in life today,” Moe said.

At the conclusion of the event, about 1,000 remaining fish were released into Steel lake. Urabeck, of the Puget Sound Anglers, said he hopes his group can host the event again next year.

Contact Margo Hoffman: or (253) 925-5565.

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