Warsaw, Mo. – Children love to get outdoors and fishing is a wonderful way for them to interact with nature. To learn how, attend the 12th annual Kids Fishing Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery near Warsaw. The event is free and open to youths ages 15 and under.
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff and volunteers will teach fishing skills and provide equipment and bait. Lost Valley maintains a kids fishing pond stocked all year to provide an extra opportunity for youths to learn the sport. But the Kids Fishing Day offers extra benefits such as casting lessons from volunteers, a free lunch (hot dogs, long a staple of anglers), and staff will even help clean fish and prepare them for cooking. Each child can keep two fish.
Chances are excellent that the fish will be biting. The pond gets an extra stocking of channel catfish and hybrid sunfish the day before the event, said Lesly Conaway, aquaculture biologist at Lost Valley.
“This is a great place to teach kids about fishing,” Conaway said. “They don’t have to worry about brush and hooks and lines getting snagged, and the pond has very easy access.”
Walmart is a co-sponsor for this year’s event. Throughout the day, there will be drawings for fishing gear giveaways. Although the fishing doesn’t start until 10 a.m., many participants and volunteers arrive early. Volunteers give casting lessons. There are also educational displays, crafts and sidewalk chalk painting.
“There are people here who will teach the kids how to tie on a hook, how to bait a hook and how to cast the bait into the water,” Conaway said. “We have equipment and bait to loan out.”
Last year’s Kids Fishing Day drew 700 people, and 400 were young anglers learning how to fish. Parents, relatives and friends are welcome to enjoy the exhibits and help the children. The hatchery is near Truman Lake, one of the reservoirs that makes Missouri a great place to fish.
Lost Valley Hatchery is the largest state owned, warm-water hatchery in Missouri and one of the largest in the nation. It is located east of Highway 65 on Lost Valley Road, northeast of Warsaw. Anglers can also step inside the hatchery visitor center and see native fish swimming in a large aquarium that mimics freshwater habitats. A gift shop offers nature-related books and items. The hatchery is a popular tourist destination and regularly hosts programs for visiting schools.
For more information on Kids Fishing Day, call 660-438-4465. Information about Lost Valley Fish Hatchery is available at http://on.mo.gov/ZjnnHY. For general information on fishing in Missouri, go to mdc.mo.gov.