Nothing fishy about family fun

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 11, 2001

East Side Lake was the in place to be Saturday for Take A Kid Fishing Day.

Monday, June 11, 2001

East Side Lake was the in place to be Saturday for Take A Kid Fishing Day.

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The ninth annual family event was organized by Steve Michels and Jill Vollmer. With a gorgeous sunny day and more than 200 children up to age 15 participating, the competition was to see who could catch the biggest fish and smallest fish in different varieties.

Vollmer elaborated on the support the event has attracted.

"Over $4,000 in money and prizes were donated for this day," she said. "One hundred percent of the bars in Austin contributed to this contest. We are all volunteers."

Denny Kamp was in charge of grilling hot dogs. He grilled up 600 last year and this year he was sure it would be 1,000. LaVaida Rocha was in charge of the prizes that were distributed. Every single child participating received a prize.

The big prizes that were distributed at the end of the day included four trips to the YMCA’s Camp Olson near Longville, Minn. The Maple Island Athletics Association contributed $900 to the camp trip. Other generous contributors were the Elks Club with $500 and the Cedar Valley Conservation Club with $250. The winners of the largest fish for ages 7-15 were eligible to go on the trip. Other prizes for the day were rods, reels, tackle boxes and of course, tackle itself.

The Bob and Sue Bailey family were at the contest with their four children. Sue was carrying her 1-year-old son, Kyle, on her back while 4-year-old Hannah fished while sitting on the dock. This was the second year the Bailey family participated in this event.

Katie Anderson, a winner of a fishing contest sponsored by ShopKo in 1984, was with her young children and parents.

"We come as often as we can to these contests," Anderson said.

The majority of the fish that were getting caught were suckers. When a child caught a fish, they would bring it to Allen Stewart and his cousin Corey Stewart. Allen would weigh the fish, record the weight, label what type of fish was caught, and the name and age of the person fishing. Corey Stewart then would release the fish back into East Side Lake. You couldn’t tell who was more excited about the size of the fish being weighed – Allen Stewart or the parents of the kid who caught the fish.

Lots of crappies were being weighed, as well as some bullheads, sunnies and carp. A 3-pound catfish was caught and released by Lindsey Blumenshien. This was her first year at the East Side Lake contest. Her Grandpa Dick Lambert said: "Lindsey doesn’t have much time to go fishing as she usually is too busy."

That’s what the day was about, bringing families together for a relaxing day on the lake with a little competition and hot dogs, and root beer thrown in for fun.

Call Sheila Donnelly at 434-2214 or e-mail her at