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Get Kids Hooked on Fishing!

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Get Kids Hooked on Fishing!

But out on the Game Trail, Matt warns, don't actually 'hook' 'em

The fish are biting if you are hitting the right spots, and at the right times. If not, at least it’s an excuse to get out of the house and dust off those cobwebs. There are a great variety of fish in the sloughs and backwaters this time of year including crappie, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, perch, and bullhead catfish. Fishing is a great opportunity to get the kids out, teach them the fundamentals of fishing and experience instant positive reinforcement when they catch a fish! Additionally, some of those fish can arguably be the best tasting fish we have around, and you can teach the kiddos how to fillet a fish properly. Anybody can hack away at a trout and call it filleting but you need some skill to get the best meat out of a crappie, perch, or bullhead catfish!

If you prefer a more organized setting to take the kids fishing, there are some really neat events coming up in our neck of the woods. Of course, we always have a Free Fishing Day every year, and that will occur on June 9 this year. We encourage everybody, veteran or first-timer alike, to come join us at one of our event sites. The Clark Fork pond will host this year’s event at 9 am, Round Lake State Park is the host for those in the Sandpoint/Sagle area, and the Priest Lake Golf Course in Priest Lake will serve folks to the west for the Bonner County Free Fishing Day. If you live in another county, please call our regional office in Coeur d’Alene 208-769-1414 for a location near you.

On June 16 the bluegill clinic at Hauser Lake will take place for kids 5 to 13 years old. We take only the first 60 kids to sign up and you can do so by calling our regional office at the above listed number. Sixty children is the max, not because we want to make it an exclusive event but because we feel this will allow for a quality experience for all involved. We will have experienced volunteers taking the kids out on boats available through the generous donation of time and equipment from the Bass Masters. This is really an event that you don’t want to miss—an opportunity to rip across Hauser with a 200hp bass boat and catch some fish! IDFG with also provide prizes for every kid and a grilled lunch. Get those kids signed up before it fills up.

Idaho Fish and Game also offers a “Take Me Fishing” program. These events include the “Take Me Fishing” trailer which is stocked with equipment and information and travels to local ponds and lakes across the state. Wrapped with vibrant fish illustrations, the trailers are hard to miss.

Getting kids excited about fishing will build a new generation of anglers. The only thing kids and their parents have to do is show up! The fishing equipment can be checked out for free during the scheduled times listed for your area on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants will be granted a permit to fish without a license. If kids get “hooked on fishing” after the event, parents will have to purchase a license. To find a location near you, please call our regional office, or go to our website to and click on the fishing tab, and then the Take Me Fishing tab.

For those of you who still have hunting running through your blood, don’t forget May is the month to get those applications for controlled hunts submitted. The period to get the applications in for controlled hunts on deer, elk, pronghorn, fall black bear, and fall turkey starts May 1 and ends June 5. You can apply at any IDFG license vendor, or IDFG office, and with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5, or online at our website fishandgame.idaho.gov .

I know I remind you all every spring about bears and their very predictable behavior. If you invite them to a free meal on your property by leaving out and accessible garbage, bird feeders, dog food, and chicken coops, they will come and cause property damage, along with the possibility of human injury. Only you can stop the bears from engaging in harmful behavior by removing any attractants. 

Over the next few weeks of May I will have Conservation Officer Jake Leal with me. Officer Leal is entering into our Field Training program where he will be begin the final stages in preparing to become a full time Conservation Officer with IDFG. Officer Leal successfully completed POST academy, Idaho’s police training facility, during the fall and winter months and will now be on this final stage of training during his training with me. If you see Officer Leal, be sure to say Hi and don’t be too mean to him. Okay, maybe just a little!

In other news, District Conservation Officer Ed Jochum has retired after 30 years of service as a Conservation Officer in Idaho. Officer Jochum was our supervisor in the Sandpoint area for roughly 13 of those 30 years. If you see Ed now, he may be out fishing or just plain relaxing but be sure to congratulate him, and thank him for 30 years of not only service to the people of Idaho, but 30 years of resource protection as well.

I hope to see you all out there this spring whether it’s fishing, hunting, mushroom picking, or just taking a hike.

Leave No Child Inside... take them fishing.


Matt Haag is a Conservation Officer with the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game. You can reach him at [email protected]

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Matt Haag Matt Haag is an Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer.

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fishing, The Game Trail

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