NAHMA TOWNSHIP - Do you want to introduce your child to the sport of fishing but don't have the equipment, know where to go or even what to do?
You're not alone, but you're in luck. The Hiawatha National Forest will once again be sponsoring Kids Fishing Day on Saturday at the Camp 7 Lake Campground, the 21st anniversary of the event.
It's a great time to introduce youngsters to the outdoors and specifically to the sport of fishing. Designed for kids up to 16 years of age, the event typically draws between 250 and 300 youngsters each year.
Seven-year-old Elsa Paarni from Bark River proudly shows off the panfish she caught off the fishing pier at Camp 7 Lake Campground at last year’s Kid’s Fishing Day. (Photo courtest U.S. Forest Service)
Kid's Fishing Day is made possible thanks to the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County, the Hiawatha National Forest and the cooperation of many volunteers, local merchants and service organizations.
Registration for Kids Fishing Day begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. in the Picnic Area. The event runs until approximately 3:30 p.m.
This is Michigan's Free Fishing weekend, a time when all fishing license fees are waived for residents and out-of-state visitors alike.
This free, fun-filled day includes a casting contest, raffle prizes, free food, and two fishing ponds for kids ages 12 and under. Everybody's favorite bear, Smokey, will be there as well so parents are encouraged to bring a camera to get pictures of Smokey with the youngsters. Face painters will be on hand as well.
All of those children who attend will receive a free lunchbox with fishing goodies donated by fishing tackle manufacturers and local businesses.
And, they'll also be eligible for free raffle prizes which include fishing rods, tackle boxes, tee shirts, and other outdoor items.
Free food donated by local merchants from Manistique, Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River will be served up by the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sports Fishermen. And thanks to generous donations from area service organizations, there should be abundant raffle prizes for the youngsters.
For more information on the many outdoor activities available on the Hiawatha National Forest, you can call 474-6442, 341-5666 or visit the Hiawatha National Forest website at fs.fed.us/r9/hiawatha.
Kids Fishing Day is one of several "Leave No Child Inside" programs sponsored by the Hiawatha National Forest, which are designed to get children "unplugged" from their Xboxes and computer games and get connected with the outdoors.
Those programs include the Youth Conservation Corps employment program for high school students, National Winter Trails Day in January, the DNR Pocket Park in August, and the award-winning Kids in the Woods program which is a partnership between the Hiawatha, the YMCAs of Delta and Marquette Counties, Alger County Parks and Recreation Department, Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County and the Hiawatha Interpretive Association.
Every Thursday for eight weeks, the Forest Service welcomes approximately 50 kids to different National Forest recreation sites to learn about the outdoors.
Activities include kayaking, mountain biking and hiking, as well as many educational activities such as fossil collecting, monarch butterfly tagging, making arrowheads and building bird feeders and nest boxes.
For more information on the Kids in the Woods program, contact Anne Okonek at 906-474-6442, extension 119.
-U.S. Forest Service