There is no doubt that this is the time of the year to be enjoying the wonderful weather that we’ve been experiencing. This spring, I’ve been writing and telling you about the importance of getting children involved in the outdoors. My concentration has been centered on getting our young outdoors and involved in any activity that brings them outside and into the wonderful of nature that Wisconsin has to other.
Fishing is one of the activities that I’ve been a part of my entire life and have found it to be a great way to get our youth involved in an outdoor activity or sport. Fishing is an outdoor activity its easy to learn the basics and most importantly it is a sport that one can participate in for their entire lives. I find joy and excitement in teaching a child some fishing basics and then having them catch their first fish! The smile on that child’s face makes the time spent teaching an activity well worthwhile.
There have been numerous youth fishing events locally and throughout the state for the last month. There was the Youth Outdoor Expo in Beaver Dam that drew thousands of children and their teacher’s from all over southern Wisconsin. Many of the children had never held a fishing rod in their hands, rode on an ATV, or watched a hunting dog be trained before this event. This program, which covers many fishing, hunting, and outdoor activities, has been a wonderful success story and schools look forward to the event every May. Then, there was the Fish Expo in Montello which was a festival for the entire community and one of the highlights was the children’s fishing. Children could sign up to go fishing with a “pro” for an hour or so and many of the children caught that “magical” first fish. This continued for the day or until there were not any children left to take out. Some of the children had fished and told me their stories of fishing and the largest fish that they had caught. But, there also were many kids who had never fished before and after catching a fish I could tell that they had found a new activity to enjoy. There’s something about the look or twinkle on the children’s faces after their first fish. One does not have to be a professional to start fishing with your children. Anyone can go to the Internet and find info on fishing basics and many professional organizations put out booklets that explain all one needs to know to start fishing. I suggest going to the Wisconsin DNR website, wi.dnr.gov, or the Safe Boating Council puts out a great booklet titled “Sidekicks” Go Fishing that is available at www.SafeBoatingCouncil.org. These are good locations to start looking, if you’re just getting started in fishing and want to learn some basics.
Last Saturday, the Yahara Fishing Club, the Madison Fishing Expo, the National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA), Walmart, Berkley, D and S Bait, and many other companies helped make the Madison Kid’s Fishing Day a success again and an asset to the community.
The Yahara Fishing Club has been around for decades and is one of the area’s best clubs that does so much for the community and your children. Saturday’s event was held at Warner Park and its lagoons. I’ve been a part of many of these events, but this one was one of the best! Maybe, it was the wonderful weather that brought out hundreds of children and their parents and guardians for a morning of fishing and a hot dog lunch.
The event was supposed to start at 8:00 am, but there were club members there before 6:00 am rigging the fishing rods and getting things organized for the day. With donations from many of the companies and the groups mentioned, over 400 rods and reels were given away along with tackle boxes and other assorted fishing gear. Yahara Fishing Club members were on hand to help and instruct the many beginners. It didn’t take long before the kid’s were casting with accuracy and catching fish. NPAA member, Greg Karch, came from Appleton, to give his great fishing basics talk before the hot dog lunch. Karch does a great job in introducing the kid’s to fishing and what’s involved in safety, fish care, and fish identification. NPAA members, Jim Kloth, Duffy Kopf, Greg Karch, and I helped teach the young and the organization contributed T-shirts, rods/reels, and other assorted gear for the children.
The great attendance and enthusiasm made the day and event worthwhile and I’m certain that this event and others like it help to get our youth outdoors and involved in an activity they’ll enjoy for years. Many of the Yahara Fishing Club members (me included) are not getting any younger, so it’s necessary to recruit and get some new and younger members. Go to the Yahara Fishing Club website for more information on this great group.
Fishing is just one way to get our youth involved in outdoor activities, but there are many others too. Try to find things that bring kids into the outdoors and enjoying the many wonders that Wisconsin has to offer them.
Be sure to check the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications for other children events in the outdoors. Soon, there is a Trout Festival in Coon Valley and one of the summer’s highlights is the “Take an Adult Fishing Tournament” in Sauk Prairie on August 4th. Wisconsin is blessed with fantastic natural resources, so get the family and children together and enjoy the outdoors!
gary engberg photo