Event draws over 1,200 kids

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Young angler Photo by Michele Phelps Cassville Middle School student Kyle Ruark landed a large trout at Roaring River State Park's annual spring Kids Fishing Day held May 14. Although Ruark reeled in the fish after staff members stopped offering trout weigh-ins, his mother estimated that the fish was likely over two and half pounds. Ruark was one of over 1,200 kids who took part in the event, which offered free fishing and an assortment of free outdoor education classes.

Cold, dreary weather did not keep families from attending Roaring River State Park's annual spring Kids' Fishing Day on Saturday. Free fishing tags were distributed to 1,267 children during the event.

Last spring, the youth fishing day attracted 1,018 children, and in the spring of 2009, the event drew over 1,400 kids.

"I think everything went really well considering we were only three weeks out from the devastating flood we had in the park," said Paul Spurgeon, Roaring River Hatchery manager. "We got the park put back together, the people came out, and everyone seemed to really have a good time."

In addition to a free trout tag, youngsters who attended the event received an assortment of educational materials and prizes. First Fish applications were completed by over 40 young anglers who reeled in their first trout during the event.

Children who attended the fishing event also had the opportunity to take part in a variety of outdoor education classes, including Snakes Alive, Fish Cleaning and Furs and Skulls. Youth even had the opportunity to sharpen their archery skills and learn about the Missouri Stream Team program during the event.

Youngsters who took part in at least two outdoor educational activities were able to select from a variety of small prizes, including games, books and toys. Kids who attended more than two classes were entered into a drawing for larger prizes. Around 50 large prizes were awarded during the event.

Spring event draws over 1,200 kids Photo by Kerry Hays/Missouri State Parks Over 1,200 youngsters participated in Kids Fishing Day held at Roaring River State Park on May 13. Even though the weather was cold, many families turned out to take part in free fishing and outdoor education workshops offered throughout the day.

Kids attending the fishing event also had the opportunity to reel in one of 100 tagged fish. Children who landed the tagged trout were entered into a drawing for a savings bond. The special awards were presented to four youngsters on Saturday.

"As always, we couldn't put this event on without our volunteers," said Spurgeon. "We are going to try to raise more interest in volunteering for our August event. We need individuals to fill several spots under the tents."

In addition to the local community, Kids' Fishing Day volunteers represent Roaring River State Park, MAKO Fly Fishing Club, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Around 75 volunteers assisted with the spring youth event.

The following businesses and individuals served as sponsors for the 2011 spring Kids' Fishing Day at Roaring River: Missouri Department of Conservation; Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Cassville Walmart; Walmart Distribution Center; Academy Sports; Havenor's Resort; Luck E Strike; Commerce Bank; Bank of America; Freedom Bank; Security Bank; B & P Discount Store; Zebco; Les Jacobs Ford-Mercury; Emmett Allen; Clarice Stephens; Alpine Bows; Midwest Flies; and MAKO Fishing Club.

Roaring River will host its fall youth fishing event on Aug. 20.

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