A Great Weekend for Introducing Children to Fishing

by Free Speech on June 4, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

River Currents
by Gary Engberg
©2010 Gary Engberg Outdoors

Learning how to cast and use equipment properly is crucial to a lifetime of enjoyment.

Learning how to cast and use equipment properly is crucial to a lifetime of enjoyment.

Summer is finally here and that means many of us are spending much of our leisure time in the Wisconsin outdoors and hopefully fishing. Lately the temperatures have been a little too warm to me, but I know that that many of you like the sizzling heat of summer. This is the time of the year for family picnics, camping, canoe trips, soccer games, baseball games, swimming, and of course fishing.

June is one of the best months of the year for fishing since most fish species have spawned by now and the water temperatures have surged making fish more active or hungry with their higher metabolism. This is the time of the year to get your children outside and participating in activities that have them busy in something that they enjoy and can have fun doing for many years in the future. Summertime is the best time to introduce children to fishing and there are numerous fishing “events” in the area that will instruct your children in fishing basics and also give them the equipment to use in this new found activity. This coming Saturday, June 5, there are two excellent programs that will introduce kids to fishing, fun, and much more!

Madison’s Yahara Fishing Club is having their Annual Kid’s Fishing Day at the Warner Park lagoons on the cities northside. Every year, the Yahara Fishing Club has a Kids Fishing Day on the ice in the winter and also another Kid’s Fishing Day in June. Children at both events are instructed and helped in learning some fishing basics, a little about fish biology and their habits, and hopefully be able to catch a few fish. The most important thing when teaching and introducing children to fishing is that they have to have something tugging on their line and the species of fish that they catch is not important to get their attention. Children just need the thrill of catching “something” and if they do have some success they will hopefully be hooked for life in an activity that brings them into the Wisconsin outdoors.

Kids learning how to fish is a great family activity.

Kids learning how to fish is a great family activity.

Getting children involved in fishing is one of the main goals of the Madison based Yahara Fishing Club. Club President Charlie Grimm and club member, Jim Kloth, have done an excellent job in getting this Saturday’s event organized and getting donations and equipment from many area businesses to make this event such a success. One of the largest contributors has been the Madison Wal-Mart store on the cities west-side. Wal-Mart has donated money and fishing equipment for many years and if you have the chance I’d thank them for their help. The Club plans to give away rods and reels to first 350 children under 14 years of age that come to the event. Those that have their own rods will be given a tackle box full of basic fishing equipment and gear. Here is a chance to take your children to a first class event, get free equipment, and also be fed a lunch. Where else can you find such a wonderful event!? In times when the economy is down and people are watching what they spend, here is the chance to get your children involved in an activity that gives them the equipment and instruction to get started fishing.

There will be club members on hand to instruct and show the children and parents how to begin fishing and teach them fishing basics that they may try this summer and in the future. No license is needed; there will be free bait, door prizes, and much more. The event starts at 9:00 am and runs through 1:00 pm. Be sure and get there early because there will be a good turn-out as there always is at the Yahara Fishing Club’s Annual Kid’s Fishing Day.

Saturday, June 5, is also the day of another child’s fishing event in the area. It was only two years ago that the popular Lake Delton, near the tourist town of Wisconsin Dells, was flooded by torrential rains and over-flowed its banks leaving a path of destruction that destroyed houses, cut through the highway, and emptied the lake’s water into the Wisconsin River leaving the 245 acre lake dry. Soon after the flooding and emptying of Lake Delton, Ben Hobbits and Dan Small formed the Lake Delton Fisheries Restoration Project which refilled the lake and stocked it with many fish species and a forage base for food. This week’s event will celebrate and mark the first anniversary of the Lake Delton stocking program and the second anniversary of the restoration of Lake Delton and the surrounding areas of Wisconsin Dells. Founder Ben Hobbins said, “The event was envisioned to celebrate our youth and the joint efforts in restoring Lake Delton by partners, sponsors, and volunteers who worked together to repair the breech and highway, strengthen the dam, add structure, rebuild and refill the lake, and commence the fish stocking program started a year ago.”

This coming Saturday is Lake Delton’s 1st Annual Youth Fishing Jamboree held to celebrate the restoration of the lake area and its fisheries. This youth-only event will take place on 3 different bodies of water; Lake Delton, Mirror Lake, and the Lower Wisconsin River. Besides learning to fish, the event will also have a “youth fisheries biologist” theme designed to show the project’s ongoing and successful plan for restocking Lake Delton with fish. “The Youth Jamboree highlights and focuses positive attention on continuing Lake Delton restoration efforts and the area’s tourist base,’ according to Founder Ben Hobbins.

View of Lake Delton near Wisconsin Dells, the day after it drained in 2008.

View of Lake Delton near Wisconsin Dells, the day after it drained in 2008.

This all-youth fishing jamboree is for all youth age 16 and under and will start at Kaminski Park in Lake Delton with opening ceremonies at 9:00 am and end at 1:00 pm with a closing ceremony by the Lake Delton Restoration Team and DNR officials. The fishing will take place from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm with a 15 minute youth fisheries biologist clinic given before the children hit the water and begin fishing. The children will be taught how to “catch, measure, record, and release” all the caught fish as “youth fisheries biologist apprentices” while taking actual fish species surveys on clipboards to the DNR personnel. Boy Scouts in attendance will also have a chance to earn fishing and conservation badges in a new program developed by the Boy Scouts of America and the Future Fishing Foundation. There will be a “shore lunch’ for participants at 12:00 pm at Kaminski Park put on by sponsors, clubs, fishing guides, and pros in attendance. Dan Small, the other Restoration founder, added “Bringing youth into fishing at an early age helps sustain fishing and raise awareness for the project’s conservation efforts while developing a love of fishing and the outdoors.”

The Wisconsin DNR has been a major player in the restoration of Lake Delton by stocking over 20 million minnows and shiners for food, 9,000 walleye fry, 1000’s of catfish, crappies, perch, smallmouth and largemouth fingerlings, and 5,000 10-inch walleye fingerlings. Scot Stewart, a DNR Fish Biologist on the Restoration Task Force, said some of these fish may reach legal size by the fall of 2010.

The lake is full of water and fish, so why not take your children to either of these children fishing events this coming weekend. Ben Hobbins and Dan Small have spear-headed a successful restoration of one of the state’s most popular waters with help from many other individuals too numerous to mention in this column. Some of the Youth Fishing Jamboree’s major sponsors include; Gander Mountain stores, Brunswick, Future Fishing Foundation, River’s Edge Bait and Tackle, C and H Distributors, Frabill, Dan Small Outdoors, and Wilderness Fish and Game store.

I’ll be at both events and I hope to see many of you and your families at another weekend of teaching children how to fish and enjoy the many wonders of the Wisconsin outdoors. I thank the Yahara Fishing Club and the Lake Delton Restoration Project (Hobbins and Small) for making these events available to today’s young. Remember, fishing is an activity for the entire family and groups like these are making it possible for more children to be introduced to this wonderful outdoor activity.   www.garyengbergoutdoors.com

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