It's once again time for the annual Kids' Fishing Day at Roaring River State Park, located on Highway 112 about seven miles south of Cassville. This year's event will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 19.
Children age 15 and under will be able to pick up free trout tags at the hatchery office at any time on Friday, May 18 or on Saturday. Along with their free tags, youth will receive a free goodie bag.
A portion of the park has been designated for youth age 15 and under, and volunteers will be on hand to assist.
"We have a limited number of fishing poles," said Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager. "Participants are urged to bring their own fishing equipment."
Park officials will be stocking the upper end of the stream all day with fish that weigh over a pound.
"Parents are encouraged to help their children, but only one pole may be used between the helper and the child," Spurgeon said. "Adults are not allowed to fish by themselves."
The park will also provide free hot dogs, chips and soda between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
"This event is bigger than opening day," Spurgeon said. "It's the biggest event all year. We generally have anywhere between 800 to 1,600 kids, depending on the weather."
Educational programs will also be offered to guests attending this year's Kids' Fishing Day. Seminars will be held on fish cleaning, fish cooking, knife sharpening, knot tying, fly tying and fly casting. A hatchery tour will be offered to show participants how trout are raised, and a program on Missouri snakes will be presented, using live specimens.
Children who attend three of the classes will receive a choice of prizes and entered into a drawing for larger prizes that will be held at 5 p.m. Classes are open to the entire family, but only children may enter the drawings.
Random tag numbers will also be drawn throughout the day that will be redeemable for prizes. Children must be present to win.
One lucky parent of a participating child will be eligible to win an overnight stay and dinner at the park lodge.
"The park is open for Kids' Fishing Day, where everything is free to children," Spurgeon said. "On Sunday, the park will be open to all fishermen and regular fees will apply."
Spurgeon said prizes are "really good this year," with at least five bicycles to be given away, in addition to other items.
"New this year, the bluegrass band, 'Spur of the Moment,' will be performing from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.," Spurgeon said.
Concessions and necessities will also be available at the park store.
Volunteers are needed to help with the event. Those wishing to volunteer do not need to be experienced anglers. For more information, call Spurgeon at 417-847-2430 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.