Get Kids "Hooked" on Fishing!
The Game Trail
Take me fishing! That sentence is something we should all love to hear from our kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews. We need to act on such requests and encourage our children to not only fish, but embrace time in the outdoors. Unfortunately, there are a handful of today’s youth that are not interested in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, or hunting. Instead of playing outside with friends many children spend their life indoors watching television, or spending too much time with computers, video games, and cell phones. Yes, right here in beautiful North Idaho, some of our kids are experiencing “Nature Deficit Disorder,” a term coined by author Richard Louv in his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods. I often reference his philosophies and sayings in this column, such as Leave No Child Inside.
The number of obese children in the United States is staggering, and we are not immune to it in North Idaho. We are truly blessed with a myriad of outdoor opportunities out our back doors, yet kids are plugged into electronic devices far more than then they should be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children between the ages of six months and six years spend an average of one-and-a-half hours a day with electronic media and children between the ages of 8 and 18 years spend an average of nearly six-and-a-half hours a day with electronic media. Another alarming statistic shows only half of America’s kids between the ages of 9 and 13 are involved in outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and walking.
Here in Idaho, the Department of Education’s Coordinated School Health Program has documented that approximately 30.5 percent of Idaho’s school-age children are overweight or obese. While this is less than the national average of 34.5 percent, it is still a significant percentage and cause for concern.
On the internal side, the mental and emotional health of our children also takes a big hit with children spending more time in doors. Children diagnosed with attention deficit disorders and depression are sky rocketing at an alarming rate. What the heck are we doing to our kids?
As a parent of two girls I understand the challenges of finding the time to get outside as a family, but it has to be done. It’s easy to fall in the trap of structuring our kid’s lives to a fault: too much parental supervision and too many structured activities. How much time are we allowing our kids to explore the world they live in, to jump in puddles, chase fish up a creek, or climb trees?
Free fishing day in Idaho is June 11 this year. Are you a single mom, or parents who have never fished, but would like your kids to learn the fundamentals of fishing? Please being them out to a free fishing day event nearest you. All events are staffed with IDFG employees and volunteers that will not only provide some fishing gear but also some advice and tips if needed. Here’s a list of locations for free fishing day events; Bonner’s Ferry—Snow Creek Pond from 9 am to noon; Clark Fork—Clark Fork Lodge Pond from 9 am to noon; Priest Lake—Priest Lake Golf Course from 9 am to noon; Sandpoint—Round Lake State Park from 9 am to noon.
We also have a fantastic new program called the “Take Me Fishing Trailer.” It’s more or less like a roving free fish day! The trailer is packed with fishing rods and tackle for Idaho Panhandle kids to use free at trout-stocked ponds in June.
The “Take Me Fishing” trailer debuts this season on June 2, from 4 pm to 7 pm at Fernan Lake and then on June 4 from 9 am to 4 pm at Post Falls Park.
Fishing equipment can be checked out for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not needed. Participants who register will be granted a permit to fish without a license. If they get hooked on fishing after the event, parents will have to purchase a license. However, Idaho children under the age of 14 can fish for free.
Stocked with basic fishing equipment and information, the trailer wrapped with eye-catching fish illustrations is hard to miss. The fishing trailer will be parked near waters that are stocked with fish. Here are the dates for June, find a location near you and pack up the kiddos!
June 9: Round Lake, 4 pm-7 pm June 11: (Free Fishing Day in Idaho) Rathdrum City Park. June 14: Hauser Lake, 3 pm-6 pm June 16: Kelso Lake, 3 pm-6 pm June 21: Robinson Lake, 3 pm-6 pm June 23: Jewel Lake, 3 pm-6 pm June 28: Shepherd Lake, 3 pm-6 pm June 30: Perkins Lake, 3 pm-6 pm
This is a golden opportunity for those parents who have never fished and want to get their children hooked on an outdoor activity! I think I can speak for all the officers and IDFG staff when I say that we look forward to that parent or child attending these events who has never fished before in their lives. When that child catches their first fish, we are reminding of why we chose the career paths we did and we can only hope that we helped a child to get hooked on fishing and will someday soon ask their parents to “Take me fishing.”
Leave No Child Inside