Kids' Fishing Day slated for Aug. 20
Up to 3,000 rainbow trout to be stocked in river
There's just something fun about casting a line out into a river and the challenge of catching something on the end of it, and on Saturday, children of all ages will get to do just that, as they can fish all day for free at Kids' Fishing Day at Roaring River State Park.
Parents can register children all day Friday at the park office, and Saturday at the event's main tent.
Kids' Fishing Day, which will start bright and early at 7 a.m. and last through the evening until 8 p.m., is held twice a year, at the beginning of summer, and fall.
Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said he expects smaller crowds at the fall event, compared to the May event, during which 1,300 children registered, due to the event coinciding with the beginning of school.
"We usually get between 800-900 for the fall event since school starts," he said.
Along with great fishing, to the tune of about 2,500 to 3,000 rainbow trout to be released into the river for children to catch, and there will be lots of fun and exciting activities to teach, entertain and enlighten young anglers, and their parents, too.
"We're having conservation classes again, outdoor survival skills, fish cleaning, fish cooking, nature center programs and hatchery tours," Spurgeon said.
Bluegrass music entertainment will be provided throughout the day to entertain guests. Concessions will also be provided, free of charge, with one slight change: David Waugh, concessions manager for the park, will be serving hot dogs in the basement of the recently reopened and historic CCC Lodge, the centerpiece of the park.
"He's going to have his hot dogs, chips and drinks on the sidewalk in front of the lodge," Spurgeon said.
During the day, children can fish for fun, or fish to compete, with prizes aptly awarded for the biggest catches.
Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. at the bandstand.
The event has become a local tradition entrenched in the community and beyond, like the concentric ripples in the river after a pebble is thrown in, offering a piece of leisure and recreation that locals, and even those coming from bordering communities and states, have come to expect and look forward to.
"It will be business as usual," Spurgeon said. "We'll also have pretty good prizes to give away this year. We're still looking for volunteers to help under the tent. We can use help for a few hours or whatever time people can donate. It's a great cause and lot of fun to help the kids."
The inspiration of Kids' Fishing Day began 35 years ago, in 1981, with the thought to provide a fun event for children while instilling the same love of fishing in young people that their parents enjoyed, and grew into the large-scale, extremely popular event it is today.
"We see every year where people who came [to fish] as a child are now coming back and bringing their own kids," Spurgeon said. "It's become a tradition and we're pretty proud of that."
In fact, an area from the upper part of the stream by the hatchery all the way to the bridge near the entrance is roped off for children to fish during the bi-annual event.
"It started with first just a kids fishing hole [near the hatchery], and it's grown and grown and we've extended [the fishing area] all the way down there to accommodate more children."
Spurgeon said some fishing poles will be available, but encouraged parents to bring their own poles and tackle for children.
Even with all of the humidity and rain storms this summer, fish will be jumping, and so will young, excited anglers waiting to catch them, because everyone knows a little inclement weather won't stop a serious angler.
"Rain or shine, it will be going on," said Spurgeon.