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.
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.
The Aquatic Education Program, FishKS, has a program similar to Hunter Education where volunteers can become Certified Angler Instructors. These instructors are essential to the success of FishKS by coordinating and assisting with fishing events statewide. To become a Certified Angler Instructor, you must attend a four hour class (Free) and complete supervised instruction. Classes are scheduled statewide as requested. The next class is scheduled for April 20th, 2019 at Free State High School in Lawrence. For more information or to register, please visit www.fishingsfuture.org
Please visit the Aquatic Education Calendar to find events scheduled in your area. If you would like more information on FishKS or fishing clinics in your area, contact the nearest KDWPT office or the Pratt Operations Office at (620) 672-5911.