Thursday, March 27, 2014

There’s Nothing Like A Fishing Derby to Get Kids Outdoors!

Klineline Park, Vancouver, WA

It's springtime and the tulips and daffodils are in blossom. It's also time for anglers to brave the morning chill for a chance to hook that large trout. Spring fishing in the Pacific Northwest is an annual tradition anticipated with great gusto by residents of Vancouver, Washington.

Once again this year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is joining forces with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Klineline Kids Fishing non-profit to put on the Klineline Kids Fishing Derby, a community event that gets people outside to have some fun and take in the beauty of nature. We expect more than 4,000 children and their families will come out to the Derby which is held on April 11th and 12th in Vancouver.

At this very moment, volunteers from the community are assembling 4,000 rods and reels, attaching weights and bobbers, and preparing the live bait that will be wriggling out of little hands on fishing day. The good folks at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are stocking Klineline Pond with more than 10,000 rainbow trout which makes this Clark County’s largest annual fishing event. Local vendors and sponsors enhance the festivities with free ice cream, bird house building, face painting and even archery.

                             Wiggling Fish Cause Cheers and Squeals of Delight!  
These pictures from last year’s event show the joy experienced by young and old alike. Parents cheered the kids as they watched them grappling with the fish on their lines. Kids squealed with delight when their very own wriggling fish was scooped into a net.    Each participating child receives a free fishing pole, a T-shirt, and a goodie bag. There are also prizes to be won and some young anglers will take home a new bike, or a tackle box, or a trophy. But no one will go home empty handed.

                                            Sharing Knowledge and Passion.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been a part of this event for several years, partnering with event organizers to connect people to nature. Our staff and volunteers look forward to this spring event where they can share their passion for the environment while reaching out to kids.    As in years past, the first day of this event is set aside for children with special needs. Over 500 students from the southwest Washington area will attend, including youth from the SW Washington School for the Blind and the SW Washington Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.    

Children will learn how to work with the tackle, bait, hooks and reels. They learn the techniques of fishing, netting, and even cleaning the fish. Youngsters can catch their limit (two per child) and take their rewards home, along with cooking instructions, to complete their fishing experience from pond to table.  

                                                              Kids Get ‘Hooked’

The Fish and Wildlife Service offers these activities as a way to ‘hook’ kids on the benefits of the outdoor world, to appreciate their natural surroundings and to experience one of the most popular outdoor activities in America. From the kids’ perspective, it’s the laughter and smiles that tell the story of how they learn to bait a hook, cast a line, and reel in a fighting fish. Many come away with a special memory as well as information on fish culture, water quality, and habitat on a small scale. 

     Ready. Set. Fish!  

If this sounds like fun, register today to be a part of this fantastic event at Don’t worry if you have never fished before, the Klineline Fishing Derby is the perfect place for people of all ages to learn to fish. Ponds and lakes are well stocked in preparation for the event, and Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers are on hand to help folks master the skills they need to reel in a winner. Don’t miss it! 

Written by Jane Chorazy, Public Affairs Specialist and Connecting People with Nature Team member