Event Encourages Kids to Fish

By KBJR News 1

July 18, 2012 Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 8:18 PM CDT

Cook, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - When community members near Lake Vermilion noticed that fewer kids were fishing on the lake, they decided to do something about it. They organized the annual Take a Kid Fishing Day.

This year was the event's third and organizers say that it attracted about 85 participants, the highest number yet.

"I like being outdoors and it's just peaceful and relaxing," said participant Jake Mayry.

Organizers started the event when they noticed fewer kids and young adults on Lake Vermilion.

"The demographic seems like it's changing so that the age group of the people that are on the lake and using the lake and fishing are generally getting older and older," said event organizer, Jay Schelde.

The event pairs kids with volunteer fishing guides, giving some a fishing experience that they've never had.

"We do a lot of sports activities mainly, baseball, football, basketball, but we don't have many lakes," said Joe Mlaka of his son's fishing experience, "Here you get a chance to be with nature. Something we don't get to do in the city."

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the number of fishing licenses sold to 16 and 17-year-olds in the state dropped from 27,301 in 2007 to 23,497 in 2011.

DNR officials say that this isn't a significant decrease, but they still encourage as many youth-related fishing activities as possible.

Schelde and other Take a Kid Fishing Day organizers hope that their event will encourage young people to fish.

"We know the value of the lake and what a good experience it is for kids," Schelde said, "So if you can get them exposed to it we're sure they'll come back."

In an effort to recruit young people to fish, the DNR is offering a reduced rate on licenses for 16 and 17-year-olds. Starting next year, fishing licenses for that age group will only be $5 for Minnesota residents. The current price is $17.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.