The small, freckle-faced 6-year-old boy with wispy-brown hair bit his lip as he struggled and grunted with his task at hand. He had just hooked his first fish and was intent on landing it, oblivious to the shrieks and cheers of other children around him. He finally beached his prize, a fat and flopping 2-pound channel catfish, and smiled with an ear-to-ear grin worth a thousand words. This is a scene replayed countless times by many children during fishing clinics sponsored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.
Fishing clinics are hosted by department employees at state fishing lakes, parks, and city lakes and ponds. Most are geared toward younger children and others who may not have much experience with fishing techniques and tactics. They are held throughout the spring and summer months and occasionally in the fall.
Content covered in a clinic varies by presenters, but all have fishing as a central theme. Fish identification, management, casting demonstrations, equipment, water safety, and even fish cooking are a few areas covered. Plenty of time is devoted to baiting hooks and catching fish, too. The primary species caught during fishing clinics include bluegill, green sunfish (often mistakenly called "perch"), channel catfish, and large-mouth bass.
Participants don't even need their own equipment. Rods, reels, and other necessary fishing equipment will be provided for use at the fishing clinics.
Fishing clinics serve to educate and entertain thousands of Kansas youngsters each year. Information and experience gained during these clinics remain with children forever. Those involved learn to appreciate the joys fishing can offer and the rewards of a fine day on the water.
If you would like more information on fishing clinics in your area, contact the nearest office of the KDWPT or the Pratt Operations Office at (620) 672-5911.