MILWAUKEE - Kids 15 years and younger can mark the arrival of spring by attending free fishing clinics on Saturday, April 12, at several lagoons and ponds in Milwaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha counties. Clinics will be held every hour beginning at 9 a.m. with the last clinic starting at 2 p.m.
"These clinics give kids a chance to learn about fishing, especially those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to find out what fishing is all about," said Matt Coffaro, DNR statewide urban fisheries biologist. "And it's just a great opportunity for kids to get outside away from the electronics, get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors and all it has to offer."
Members of local fishing clubs organize the clinics, and instruction includes fishing techniques, equipment use, knot tying, safety rules and fish identification. In spite of the unseasonably cold spring weather, the fishing instruction portion of the clinics will take place even if there is still ice cover.
"For 30 years, sport fishing groups have been the heart and muscle of this program," Coffaro noted. "They do an outstanding job of teaching kids the basics of fishing and that fishing is fun. None of this works without the dedication of the volunteers."
The Department of Natural Resources and the Hunger Task Force Fish Hatchery will stock fish in the urban waters before the kids' clinics are held. Fishing equipment is provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own rod and reel if possible.
Adult anglers are reminded that from March 8 through April 25, urban fishing waters are restricted to fishing by juveniles 15- years-old and younger and certain disabled anglers. Urban fishing waters are small lakes and ponds under 25 acres that are continuously and cooperatively managed with a municipality. The 2014 - 2015 fishing regulations list urban waters with these special regulations. The rule is designed to give young anglers and anglers with disabilities an opportunity to fish close to home before competition from adults limits their chances to catch fish.
Locations for the April 12 kids' fishing clinics are:
Brown Deer Park, 7835 N. Green Bay Rd. (Hosted by Okauchee Fishing Club)
Greenfield Park, 2028 S. 124 St. (Hosted by Great Lakes Sport Fishermen; Milwaukee Casting Club)
Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave. (Hosted by Lunkers Unlimited)
McCarty Park, 8214 W. Cleveland Ave. (Wheelchair accessible) (Hosted by Southside Sportsmen's Club)
McGovern Park, 5400 N. 51 Blvd. (Wheelchair accessible) (Hosted by Badger Fisherman's League)
Mitchell Park, 2200 W. Pierce St. (Hosted by Bay View Rod & Gun Club)
Oak Creek Parkway, Oak Creek Pkwy and Mill Rd. in South Milwaukee (Hosted by Friends of the Oak Creek Millpond)
Scout Lake Park, 5902 W. Loomis Rd. (Wheelchair accessible) (Hosted by Walleyes Unlimited, USA)
Sheridan Park, 4800 S. Lake Dr. (Hosted by South Milwaukee 1400 Fishing & Hunting Club)
Washington Park, 1859 N. 40th St. (Wheelchair accessible) (Hosted by E.B. Garner's Fishing Club)
Wilson Park, 1601 W. Howard Ave. (Hosted by Wisconsin Fishing Club)
Quarry Lake Park, 3800 Northwestern Ave. in Racine (Hosted by Salmon Unlimited)
Kohler-Andrae State Park, 1020 Beach Park Lane in Sheboygan (Hosted by Great Lakes Sports Fishermen-Sheboygan County Chapter)
Sandy Knoll Park, 2064 Wallace Lake Rd. in West Bend (Hosted by Trout Unlimited Southeast Chapter; West Bend Kiwanis Early Risers)
No park entrance fee will be charged
Parking passes will be distributed at the event
Menomonee Park/Lannon Quarry, W220 N7844 Town Line Rd. in Menomonee Falls, one-half mile north of Good Hope Rd. (Hosted by Wisconsin House Outdoorsmen)
Fox Brook Park, 2925 N. Barker Rd. in Brookfield (Hosted by Wern Valley Sportsmen's Club)
Muskego Park, S83 W20370 Janesville Rd. in Muskego (Hosted by Women's Hunting and Sporting Association)