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Kids Fishing Days in Southeast Alaska
As the cold dark days of winter give way to the warmer longer days of spring, residents of Southeast Alaska start to dust of their fishing gear in preparation for the upcoming fishing season. For many young anglers their fishing season or a life time of fishing begins with a kids fishing day event. These events have become important community traditions made possible by strong collaborative partnerships between civic organizations, state agencies and federal agencies. The dedication and hard work needed to make these events possible is only equaled by the enthusiasm and smiles of the young anglers and their families participating in them.
Regardless of which kids fishing day event you chose to attend you are likely to hear the encouraging instructions of a fishing partner, grandparent, parent, or sibling in a somewhat anxious tone yelling,
“Reel! Reel! Reel!”
Then if all went as planned there’s a young angler proudly holding up their catch, with that unforgettable smile proclaiming to family and friends “I caught a fish!”
You might also hear a discussion in hushed tones about the proper way to cast as lines are untangled, what fish eat, or the virtues of being patient.
Fishing with kids is as much about life skills and stewardship as it is about smiles and family time.
Anglers of all ages are invited to attend the Southeast Alaska fishing events. Come and learn how to fish so you can share this important skill with family and friends, or come and get your kids boots wet in a safe environment geared towards teaching young people this important life skill. If you don’t have fishing gear or haven’t fished before don’t let that stop you- the needed fishing gear will be provided Alaska Department of Fish and Game, or you can bring your own to join in on the fun. The Department of Natural Resources provides life jackets through the “Kids Don’t Float” program and biologists will be on hand to answer questions about when and where to fish and provide instruction.
The following areas are sponsoring fishing events:
In July at the Yakutat Harbor the U.S. Forest Service will host a Kids Fishing day and Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division will supply fishing rods and a fly tying instruction. Lunch will be provided and prizes will be given for the biggest fish.
This event is advertised locally with posters and on Kcaw radio.
Partners include: The U.S. Forest Service, city of Yakutat, and help from local sponsors.
The Division of Sport Fish in Haines will host a Youth Fishing Day on Saturday April 13, 2013, at the Haines Highway 21 milepost (MP) pullout on the Chilkat River. Sport fishing efforts will target Dolly Varden as the river runs clear that time of year and Dolly fishing can be very productive. The 21 mile pullout provides good river access above and below the parking lot, and includes a boat ramp for ease in getting to the river shoreline. The department’s net pen/tagging site for the spring Chilkat River coded wire tag (CWT( project is also located at MP 21; Sport Fish Division staff can explain the project and deploy a minnow trap on site to demonstrate the capture methods and allow for participants to view juvenile salmon and other species.
Haines department staff will have 25 fishing rod/reels appropriate for Dolly Varden fishing, lure making kits, and disinfected salmon bait eggs on hand. Anglers are encouraged to bring a couple of small pixies and basic refreshments. Area Management Biologists Richard Chapell and Brian Elliott will be on hand, as well as knowledgeable volunteers and parents.
Promotion for this event will start in early March on KHNS radio, in a Chilkat Valley News article, and on hainesak.com classifieds so people have at least a month to plan for and include this event in their spring schedules.
Local businesses, agencies and organizations supporting Youth Fishing Day include: Haines Cub Scouts (part of Boy Scouts of America,) Haines Brownies (part of Girl Scouts of America,) Big Brothers Big Sisters, Venture Scouts, and Haines Borough School District (middle school and high school.)
Juneau’s annual Family Fishing Day at the Lake event will be held at Twin Lakes Saturday June 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The emphasis for this popular community event is family, fishing, and fun. Bring your fishing tackle, non-motorized boats and life jackets if you have them; but if you don’t, come anyway as Sport Fish Division staff and other volunteers from the community will be on hand to loan rods, reels, hooks and bait at no charge. The U.S. Forest Service will provide rowboat trips, life jackets, fish printing and other activities. The Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club will be selling grilled hot dogs, drinks and other snacks.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will also participate in the event by providing life jackets and talking with participants about boating and water safety.
Macaulay Hatchery staff will stock Twin Lakes with roughly 10,000 hatchery raised king salmon 6-10 inches in late May. All of the fish are raised at Macaulay Hatchery under a cooperative agreement between ADF&G’s Sport Fish Division and Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc. (DIPAC). While these fish are stocked in anticipation of the Family Fishing Day, they also provide fishing opportunity for Juneau anglers throughout the rest of the year.
Local businesses, agencies and organizations supporting Family Fishing Day at the Lake include: U. S. Forest Service, Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc., 4-H Outdoor Skills Club, Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club, City and Borough of Juneau, Territorial Sportsmen Inc., Western Auto-Marine, and the Downtown Domino’s Pizza.
Sitka participates in the annual Junior Trout Derby on Swan Lake which corresponds with the national “Kids Fishing Day”. This will take place in early June and is advertised on local radio and paper flyers.
Each year 300 rainbow trout are transplanted from Sukoi Lake (Kruzof Island) into Swan Lake in order to provide increased angler opportunity on the Sitka road system. The annual Junior Trout derby takes advantage of this increased opportunity. During the derby young anglers, 2—12 years old, can expect to catch rainbow trout, cutthroat trout or Dolly Varden. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will have 25 fishing rod/reels to loan. Prizes are awarded for a variety of categories including: largest fish, smallest fish and hidden weight prizes. In addition to fishing, young anglers and their families can enjoy some fun activities such as making fish prints, examining aquatic invertebrates, or playing a natural resource game. Hotdogs and other refreshment are available for purchase at the Rotary Club booth.
Local businesses, agencies and organizations supporting the annual Junior Trout Derby include: U.S. Forest Service and the Sitka Rotary Club.
Petersburg’s annual Dolly Derby coincides with the Little Norway Festival in early-mid May every year. The derby will take place in the tidewaters along Wrangell Narrows in harbor and beach locations both within walking distance from the Harbormaster’s shack.
This event is advertised locally around Petersburg and at the schools along with the Little Norway Festival’s schedule of events.
Local businesses, agencies and organizations supporting the Dolly Derby are: the Chamber of Commerce, Petersburg Indian Association, and community volunteers.
In the Ketchikan area, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game assists the U.S. Forest Service with Kids Fishing Day in mid-June. City Park Ponds will be stocked with 2,000 king salmon for the event, which includes a casting contest. There are also activity booths where kids can learn how to make spinners and fish prints.
Prince of Wales
The annual Prince of Wales Island kids fishing day is held in early June at the Klawock Hatchery. This event is organized and run by the USFS and the Prince of Wales Hatchery with numerous other entities volunteering including Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Coast Guard, Prince of Wales Search & Rescue, and the Craig Library. The event hosts numerous activities that kids of all ages can participate in, such as, casting contests, fish printing, fly tying, fish ID, hatchery tours, obstacle courses, barbeque, and numerous other educational booths. ADF&G staffs assist by providing fly fishing demonstrations and casting instructions. Anglers will fish for rainbow and cutthroat trout along Klawock Lake and river.
Interested persons can call the USFS Thorne Bay Ranger District at 907-828-3304 for further information.
At each of these events biologists will be on hand to answer questions about when, where and how to fish. At many events there are volunteers on hand to clean fish for you or teach you how to clean fish.
If you have questions about the above events or would like information about fishing opportunities in your area, please contact the Management Biologist for your area:
General questions about SE
Princes of Wales
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P.O. Box 115526
1255 W. 8th Street
Juneau, AK 99811-5526