It’s hard to believe that this is the time of the summer when the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City has its “Annual Kids Take an Adult Fishing Tournament.” This family orientated event is in its 12th year and the popularity of this “tournament” grows every year with many children saying that this event is one of their favorite things to do every summer. Children get a chance to fish on any waters in the area with their parents, guardians, grandparents, sisters, brothers, and friends. The smiles, the laughter, and families getting together in the outdoors have made this summer event a big hit with families from as far away as Illinois. I’ve had families tell me that they make sure that they take their summer vacation to Wisconsin during the week of the “annual fishing tournament” in Sauk City.
I constantly write about the importance and joy that families and friends can have in the Wisconsin outdoors and at events like the one coming up this Saturday, August 4th, in Sauk City. The Wilderness Fish and Game store goes out of its way to promote outdoor events with seminars and clinics geared to getting people into the outdoors and learning from their expert staff and other experts that are brought in during special events like this week’s tournament and the Spring Fishing Clinic that has been in existence for over 25 years. The store brings in the best people available for the novice or the beginner who may be just learning the basics of fishing or pro’s to give a tip or two to the more advanced angler. No matter what your skill level is there are always people and staff to help you.
Saturday’s 12th Annual Kids Take an Adult Fishing Tournament is open to anyone who wants to fish the tournament, is under 16 years old, and has a signed registration form from their parent or guardian. Participants can fish any water that they choose as long as they are back at the weigh-in stage by 2:00 pm for the official weigh-in. Anglers can fish from shore or a boat and the most important thing is that they have to follow all the rules and regulations in the Wisconsin Fishing booklet. Since the tournament is for children under 16 years of age, they don’t need a license. But, the adults fishing with the children must be licensed if they are going to fish. If the parents are just going to help the kids and run the boat without fishing, then they don’t need a license. The DNR now has 1 day licenses, so if you don’t plan to fish anymore than this is your best bet. I hope that you’re fishing more and need an annual license, so that you can get on the water with your children more.
There are many locations to fish with or without a boat. If you’re a shore angler, the Wisconsin River has limitless places to fish and many are close to town. I’d try finding a nice and accessible location on the Wisconsin River and fish live bait off the bottom. I’d fish anywhere from the Highway 60 Bridge to the Prairie Dam with cut bait or night crawlers and using enough weight to keep the bait on or close to the bottom. A rod holder is nice to have, but a forked stick will work just as well too.
When taking children fishing and particularly when they are just learning, the most important thing that you want is for the children to catch fish and have a good time. This is why I suggested using live bait on the bottom of any lake or river that you are fishing. The species or kind of fish is not important, but having some action and catching a few fish is what you need to make the day! Fishing live bait with just a hook and enough weight to stay on the bottom will catch most fish species and provide a child with some excitement, fun, and lots of smiles! If you’re fishing with young children try to have a few other activities to do in case fishing is slow. Think of some activities like bird watching, skipping stones, and anything that you can think of to entertain your children. If fishing is good, you’ll find no problems with keeping your child’s attention. But, you have to have a back-up plan to make sure that a child’s fishing experience is a good one.
Numerous companies have donated gear, equipment, and fishing related products that the children will love and spend hours playing with. We’ve been lucky with numerous fishing related companies coming through with give-a-ways for the children. All children will receive some fishing equipment, a hat, and t-shirt with a chance to win a trophy and rod and reel for the largest fish caught in the following categories; panfish, walleye and sauger, largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, catfish, and rough fish. The event has a stage, digital scale, and leader board to give this event a “big time” feeling!
I’ll try to mention the many companies that have made this event possible in the future because the down economy has forced many companies to cut down on give-a-ways and free products for children’s events. The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) is an organization of professional anglers, guides, and manufactures who mission is to support the sport of fishing and get more children involved in this outdoor activity. The NPAA was very generous in their donations. The key is to get children involved in fishing and outdoor activities at an early age and make the experience a good one with fun and lots of laughs. The NPAA’s Greg Karch is coming over from Appleton to give his “fishing basics” talk to the kids and parents. Greg is in charge of the kid’s events for the NPAA and has done a wonderful job in his mini seminars. Also, the DNR will have their invasive cleaning trailer at the event, DNR Fisheries Director, Mike Staggs, will be present along with DNR wardens and personnel to answer questions.
This will be another great event for children and parents to get out fishing in the outdoors and having fun while learning a sport that they can participate in for life. Get the family together and enter if you haven’t already because you will have a good time and learn something new to do in the outdoors. There are registration forms and waivers at the Wilderness Fish and Game store to fill out and have a parent sign. This is a rain or shine event, so a little rain wouldn’t hurt things. There also will be surprises and guests to make this 12th Annual Kids Take an Adult Fishing Tournament another great day for the kids and their families. I hope to see many of you there and even if you’re not fishing, stop by and see the smiles and excitement in the children’s eyes after they’ve caught their first fish and weighed their fish on the stage. Promoting and recruiting young children to the outdoors and fishing is so important in times when we are losing “baby boomers” and need new recruits for the outdoors. Why not introduce some friends who don’t fish or live an outdoor life to go fishing this Saturday? Try to find and introduce some new people and families to Wisconsin’s wonderful outdoors and you’ll be surprised at how much they’ll enjoy the experience and hopefully make it a regular happening for them and their family. If you have any questions about Saturday’s event call the Wilderness Fishing and Hunting store at (608)-643-5229. I’ll see you there at the 6:00 am for the rules meeting and a great day for children and families in the Wisconsin outdoors.