Roaring River State Park will host its annual fall Kids' Fishing Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20. The event, which offers a free day of fishing and educational opportunities, is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
"This week, we will be putting up the tents and signs and setting up the booths for the event," said Paul Spurgeon, Roaring River Hatchery manager. "We will stock the stream the night before.
"Once again, we have a special raceway designated for Kids' Fishing Day, so we will have plenty of big fish out in the stream this weekend," said Spurgeon.
Last year's August event attracted 858 kids. Due to the warm weather, Roaring River staff members are preparing for around the same number of youngsters during this year's fall event.
"We will stock over 2,000 fish in the stream, plus 60 lunkers that are over three pounds each," said Spurgeon. "The other 2,000 fish are well over a pound each also."
The special fish will be stocked in a portion of the stream reserved for anglers 15 years of age and younger. The marked section, which will stretch from the first hole near the hatchery to the second bridge, will be reserved for kids-only fishing.
"We will have the 100 tagged fish again at this event," said Spurgeon. "Kids who reel in one of the tagged fish will receive a free fishing rod."
Children who reel in their first fish are encouraged to complete a First Fish application form. Volunteers will be available to help parents complete the form and take photos of youngsters with their first fish.
"It is going to be warm, so we encourage families to dress appropriately," said Spurgeon. "We hope to have plenty of drinking water out there for those attending the event."
Families are encouraged to bring their own fishing equipment. Parents can assist children during the event, but only one pole can be shared between the parent and child.
In addition to enjoying a free day of fishing, kids and their parents are invited to participate in a variety of outdoor education classes that will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Youngsters who attend at least two classes will have the opportunity to choose from among a variety of prizes and be awarded a free trout fishing tag to be used during their next visit to Roaring River. Kids who attend more than two classes will be entered into a drawing for an assortment of larger prizes. The drawing will be held during closing ceremonies, which are scheduled to begin around 5 p.m.
"We have one new thing this year," said Spurgeon. "Parents who bring kids to Kids' Fishing Day will be eligible to enter a drawing for a weekend getaway at the Roaring River Inn. They will receive one night's lodging and supper at the restaurant."
Free fishing tags and gift bags, which include an assortment of educational materials and free items, can be picked up at the Roaring River Hatchery on Friday, Aug. 19. Free tags and gift bags will also be available throughout the day on Saturday.
A free lunch of hotdogs, chips and fountain drinks, provided by Jim Rogers and Roaring River Concessions, will be served at 11 a.m. on Aug. 20.
For more information on Kids' Fishing Day, call the Roaring River Hatchery at 847-2430.