TRAVERSE CITY — Kids are invited to fish for trout at the annual Kids Free Fishing Day at Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Campus on June 15.
Kids are asked to bring their own gear, but rods, reels and bait will be provided for those who need it. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The free fishing day reflects Traverse City Rotary Clubs’ commitment to “inspire lifelong stewardship of fresh water,” said John Noonan, chair of the Rotary committee that’s coordinated the event for the past seven years.
Noonan said last year’s event was successful and he expects more than 500 young anglers to take part this year. To ensure success, the state Department of Natural Resources will stock the harbor with more than 600 rainbow trout. The fish are contained in a net to make the young fishermen a bit luckier.
The event is intended to help the young and old discover the simple joy of baiting a hook and waiting for a fish to bite, organizers said.
“Research shows that our youth do not have access to fishing opportunities that others once enjoyed,” said Todd Kalish of the state Department of Natural Resources.
Volunteers will be on hand to register anglers, help with fishing instruction, and even clean the fish caught. The event also includes a cooking class on how to prepare fish and a U.S. Coast Guard rescue demonstration. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
The Great Lakes Children’s Museum will host a fish painting activity for kids waiting to fish. Free food and refreshments will be available courtesy of Orchard Creek Senior Living and Health Care. Members from the Grand Traverse Area Sportsfishing Association will be on hand to help clean fish.
The event is hosted by the three Traverse City Rotary Clubs, NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and Great Lakes Children’s Museum. Support for the event has come from a number of local businesses, individuals and the Traverse City Rotary Clubs.
Parking is available at the Great Lakes Campus, located just east of the Holiday Inn on US 31.