On Saturday, young anglers will flock to Roaring River State Park for this year's spring Kids' Fishing Day event. Last year, 1,763 young anglers turned out for the annual event.
"We are preparing for around the same number of kids as we had last year, but our tag sales have been down this year," said Jerry Dean, Roaring River Hatchery manager. "We think the high price of gas is keeping some people away."
Although travel costs may be expensive, families should remember that Kids' Fishing Day entertainment is offered at no charge. Children who are 15 years of age or younger can pick up free trout tags at the hatchery office any time on Friday, May 16. Tags can also be obtained on Saturday, May 17.
In addition to a free fishing tag, young anglers participating in the event will receive free stringers, fishing posters, activity coloring books and other educational items.
"This is a super fun day," said Dean. "Everything is 100 percent free, and this is a good chance to get kids started trout fishing and help them learn to enjoy fishing.
"We try to help the kids be as successful as possible," said Dean. "We have 5,000 fish reserved for the day and we will be adding around 50 big fish to the stream."
Jennifer Logan, Cassville Wal-Mart Supercenter assistant manager, will also be taking free photos of kids who catch their first fish or reel in a fish that weighs over 1.75 pounds. Parents will be able to pick up a free copy of the photo at the Cassville Supercenter on May 18. Photos will be mailed to parents who are unable to pick up the photo on Sunday.
A free lunch of hotdogs, chips and soda will be provided from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Kids are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment to the event. A limited number of fishing rods and reels will be offered for loan and volunteers will be available to help young anglers on the banks. Only one pole can be used between an adult helper and a child.
Trophies will be awarded to the boys and girls who weigh in the biggest fish and the biggest stringers. Each kid who catches a fish that weighs over three pounds will be entered into a drawing for a free taxidermy mount.
Young anglers who attend two or more classes will be entered into a drawing for a prize. Kids who attend a fly casting class could win one of several complete fly fishing outfits that will be given away. Archery students will be entered into a drawing for a free Alpine bow.
Kids' Fishing Day outdoor conservation classes and activities are listed below.
* Fly Casting, 9 a.m. Instructor David Waugh is certified by the national Fly Fishing Federation (FFF) as a fly fishing instructor and manages the Roaring River CCC Lodge and Roaring River Inn. Waugh will teach basic casting techniques. The class will be held at the first hole downstream from the CCC Lodge bridge.
* Fish Cleaning, 9:30 a.m. Instructor Charles Knapp, a long-time Roaring River fisherman, will provide students with a hands-on demonstration on preparing trout for cooking.
* Tree Identification, 9:30 a.m. Instructor Josh Roller, who works for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at the Roaring River Hatchery, will teach the differences between trees that are located in the park.
* Ozark Cave Fish, 9:30 a.m. Instructor Blake Stephens, who works for MDC in Neosho, will teach students about the habitat of and threats to the endangered Ozark Cave Fish.
* Backyard Birding, 9:30 a.m. Instructor Brad Russell, who works for MDC at Chesapeake Hatchery and is an avid birder, will teach students how to identify birds by sight and sound.
* Archery, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Instructor Chris Berry, who works for the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, is a hunting guide and world class competitor. Berry is sponsored by Alpine Bows. Students will receive hands-on basic archery training.
* Arrowhead Knapp-ing, 10 a.m. Instructor Leon Perry, who is a retired school administrator and avid archer, will teach students the art of knapping to make an arrowhead out of obsidian rock. Perry will also demonstrate how to mount an arrowhead on a cedar arrow and attach turkey feathers for fletching.
* Snakes Alive, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Instructor Cheyne Matzenbacher, Roaring River naturalist, will teach kids the natural history of snakes. Live specimens will be available.
* The Fishing Magicians, 10 to 10:30 a.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. Steve Craig and Amy Short, who have been featured on ESPN, combine magic, comedy and fishing in their performance.
* Fly Tying and Fly Casting, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Instructors from the MAKO Fly Fishing Club will perform fly tying demonstrations and give individual fly casting instruction.
* Critter Stamp Headbands, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Instructors Peggy and Brianna Dittmar will help children make and decorate personalized headbands.
* Stream Table Display, 10 a.m. to noon. Instructor Ron Bullard, who works for MDC in Springfield, will illustrate the hydraulics of a stream and the effects of channeling and digging. Bank stabilization methods will also be demonstrated.
* Introduction to Taxidermy, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Instructor Russ Pendergraft, who owns Visions of Wildlife Taxidermy Studio in Cassville, will demonstrate various steps used to mount a white tail deer. Children can visit the demonstration throughout the day to see Pendergraft's progress.
* Becoming a Conservation Agent, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Instructor Travis McLain, who has been a MDC agent for nine years, will talk about agent requirements and some of the equipment he uses as a conservation agent.
* Aquatic Entomology, 10:30 a.m. Instructor Rick Horton, who works as a fishery biologist in Neosho, will help students identify types of insects in the stream and how they relate to fish as food. Horton will also demonstrate which flies imitate the insects.
* Jig Tying, 11 a.m. Instructor Jerry Dudley, an experienced jig maker, will give kids a hands-on opportunity to learn to tie jigs. Dudley will also demonstrate jig fishing methods.
* Fish Cleaning, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Instructors Josh Roller and Brad Farwell, who work for MDC at Roaring River, will give a hands-on demonstration on preparing trout, bluegill and catfish for cooking.
* Fish Cooking, 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Instructor Rod May, Neosho Fish Hatchery assistant manager, will demonstrate frying and grilling methods for cooking catfish and trout.
* Project ID For Kids, 11:30 a.m. Instructors Tammy Callahan, Fraternal Order of Police member, and Missy and Tim Morris will fingerprint kids in a Project ID handbook, which parents can keep or use to register their child with the FBI.
* How to Fish Roaring River, 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Instructor Marvin Farwell, who works for MDC at the Roaring River Hatchery, will instruct kids on types of bait that are legal for each fishing zone in the park. Farwell will also demonstrate what type of knot to use to tie a hook on, how to rig a pole and how to fish with various types of bait and lures.
* Make Your Own T Shirt, 1 to 3 p.m. Instructor Rebecca Bishop will help kids decorate iron-on "Trout Day" transfers that were designed by Kendra Gardner and Tyler Long. Volunteers will be on hand to apply the finished transfer to a free T shirt. The class will be limited to the first 300 students.
|* Fisheries Biology, 1:30 p.m. Instructor Rick Horton, who works as a fisheries biologist for MDC in Neosho, will cover the unique characteristics of many different species of Missouri fish, their habitats and their physiology.|
* Fly Tying, 2 to 3 p.m. Instructor Charlie Stock, who owns Mid-West Flies in Lebanon, will work with kids one on one to teach fly tying.
* Knot Tying, 2:30 p.m. Instructor Kevin Asbury, Roaring River Hatchery assistant manager, will have a hands-on class to teach two easy, fast and strong knots to tie a hook on a line. Students will learn to tie the Fisherman's and Palomar knots.
* Hatchery Tour, 2:30 p.m. Matzenbacher will teach kids about the geology of Missouri's 20th largest spring and the history of Roaring River State Park and hatchery. Students will also learn about the life cycle of the trout, how trout are raised and how the fish are stocked in the stream.
* Knife Sharpening, 2:30 p.m. Instructor J.D. Browning, a long-time Roaring River fisherman, will show kids the right way to sharpen a knife. Students are asked to bring their own pocket knives to the class.
* Fly Casting, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Stock will teach students basic casting techniques.
Roaring River's spring Kids' Fishing Day event begins at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 8:15 p.m. on May 17.
The event is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Department of Natural Resources, Jim Rogers Concessions, Mid-West Flies, Mark Jones Taxidermy, Russ Pendergraft's Visions of Wildlife Taxidermy, Les Jacobs Ford-Mercury, MAKO Fly Fishing Club, Wal-Mart, Berkley, Fuji Film, Able 2 Products, Luck-E-Strike, Freedom Bank, Commerce Bank, Security Bank, Tim's Fly Shop and other local businesses.
For more information on Kids' Fishing Day, call the Roaring River Hatchery at 847-2430.