Fisheries bring kids outdoors to cast lines

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    By Angela Twining

    Local fisheries in Utah are helping children get hooked on fishing, and plans for more across the state are in progress.

    The fisheries serve as a child”s training ground for casting and catching, said Scott Brady, 24, a junior from South Jordan, Utah, majoring in public relations.

    “They”re always stocked with fish, and little kids like catching fish. It”s like hitting in baseball — if you never hit the ball, you”ll lose interest,” he said.

    Hooking children on fishing is likely the reason the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources maintains about 20 urban fisheries along the Wasatch Front.

    Fisheries are ponds or lakes stocked with fish near populated towns. Parents no longer need to travel to the wilderness for their children to get the fishing experience.

    David Banks, acting urban fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Resources Department, said although most fisheries are along the Wasatch Front, the plan is to open more across the state.

    He said more urban ponds are being built every year. A new fishery complex, complete with basketball courts and a baseball diamond, is being constructed in Murray, Banks said.

    He said the state also has fishing mentoring programs at the fisheries in Ogden, South Jordan and Farmington for children to learn casting, safety, fish preparation and other various things.

    “The whole idea is to educate them and get them hooked on fishing as a lifetime sport,” Banks said. “A lot of times, places will have one-day-fishing events, and the kids will come and have a good time but they won”t remember anything. We want them to learn.”

    Steve Judd, the owner of Spring Lake Trout Farm in Payson, said one of his jobs is to supply fish to fisheries and keep his own pond stocked so the “little fishermen” are sure to catch something.

    “Grandparents come and bring kids for their first time to go fishing; they catch a fish and then they like to fish,” he said.

    He said since it is likely 10 percent of the people catch 90 percent of the fish, it is good that the Department of Wildlife Resources is trying to instill an interest in fishing in children.

    “In this day and age, kids are more inclined to play basketball or roller skate than they are to go fishing,” he said. “When I was growing up, we lived to go fishing.”

    When Brady was a child, his dad often took him to a local fishery to learn about fishing and to experience the atmosphere of the outdoors.

    Brady said these days he doesn”t even need to catch anything while fishing to reminisce about his youth.

    “I like fishing because of its environment. I don”t so much care about catching anything. I”m satisfied just sitting there, casting my line,” he said.

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