During the July 14 Champaign Summerfest at Melvin Miller Park in Urbana, youngsters ages 4-15 can learn to fish by participating in the Passport to Fishing Program developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to teach the basics of fishing.
The program, under the direction of Al Evans and his team, will cover the following topics:
-Station 1 will identify the types of fish found locally, how to handle a fish to not get horned (for example, blue gill and catfish have horns to protect themselves), casting and how to take a fish off the hook.
-Station 2 will stress environmental issues – the importance of taking care of the environment, packing up everything used during fishing, disposing of it in a proper container and leaving the area as it was found.
-Station 3 will illustrate how pollution affects our food source. For example, a parking lot near a water source will become polluted with oil leaking from cars, and the oil will find its way to the water and eventually into the fish we eat. Another example is a chemical dumped into or near a stream will work its way downstream, infecting the fish and ultimately the food source.
-At Station 4, each youngster will receive a fishing pole and learn to tie a hook, bobber and weight on the pole. Then the fun begins! Each “fisherman” gets wax worms and heads to the pond to catch fish. As the fish are caught, a team member will help “unhook” the fish and toss it back into the water. A coupon is earned for each fish caught. At the end of the competition, prizes will be awarded to the three with the most coupons.
Hot dogs, cookies and beverages will be available to all contestants.
Registration for the Passport program begins at 9 a.m. Parents must be present and sign the registration form. The program will end at 2 p.m.
Summerfest continues until 9 p.m. with activities for all ages, including games, tournaments, music and food. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
Information from Summerfest organizers.