League Lines: Fishing for Family Fun

Grand Island Chapter_Nebraska
Nebraska >> The Grand Island Chapter hosted its 24th annual Izaak Walton Kids Fishing Derby this year. As many as 300 young people attend the event each year, which is free-of-charge for area youth.

The fishing derby takes place at the Grand Island Veterans Home. Unlike many such events, children can take home most of the fish they catch. Adding to the excitement of hooking a line are tagged fish that, when caught, earn young anglers a prize.

In fact, there were plenty of prizes to win, including two lifetime fishing licenses issued by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Trophies were awarded for the largest fish, smallest fish, and most unusual catch in each of four age groups. Fishing poles, tackle boxes, hats, and shirts were also handed out as prizes. The event was BYOP (bring your own pole) but bait was provided, as were goodie bags for every young angler and lunch for the whole family. “This event couldn't happen without the support of many local businesses and volunteers,” says past chapter president Mike Gaghagen.

In addition to fishing, youth had the chance to learn about boating safety, fish identification, fishing laws, knot tying, and baits and lures at stations run by Nebraska Game and Parks. Youth built bird feeders out of recycled materials at a station run by the Grand Island Chapter, which also had live fish on display. Representatives from the Grand Island police and fire departments were at the derby, and Raptor Recovery brought owls and hawks for the young people to see.