On Saturday the 11th, MUCC, the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust, and the Grand Ledge Library partnered to hold a free fishing weekend for local families.
Over four hours, more than 30 youth and their parents learned the basics of casting, tackle/equipment selection and spent time fishing. Throughout the day, lots of laughter was heard along the banks of the Grand River.
Participants ranged in age from five to 12 years old. Casting practice was the most arduous portion of each session. The kids practiced underhand casting to avoid tangles and aimed at grass fish targets and hula-hoops. As the youth practiced, parents and grandparents volunteered their “tips” and encouragement.
Each group spent about 30 minutes fishing. But before they could hit the river, they had to learn how to bait their hooks. We used redworms and each kid got a lesson in baiting their hook. After lots of “oohs” giggles and uncertainty, worms were on hooks and bobbers started hitting the water.
At the end of the day, the harvest was minimal, apparently, this stretch of river is better known for carp fishing than panfish, but we still landed a few sunfish and rock bass.
Overall there were substantially more smiles made than fish caught. Some days that is what it is all about. We would like to thank the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust for providing the funding for the program and the library for encouraging outdoor programming along with their summer reading program. After sending each kid home with their own new pole and tackle box, we are excited to hear from the families about their fishing adventures later this summer.