If you give a kid a fishing rod

Published 2:39 pm Monday, June 11, 2012

Paul Fischer helps his daughter, Katara, 5, and son, Evan, 8, bait the hook while fishing Saturday at East Side Lake. The Fischers were among hundreds of people who enjoyed the Jaycee’s 19th annual Take a Kid Fishing Day. -- Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Children learn from annual outdoor event

Katara Fischer wanted nothing to do with the slimy, wriggling worm about to go on her fishing hook, but that was the only setback for her and many other kids on Saturday.

R.J. Anderson, 11, is all smiles while he fishes with his family at East Side Lake on Saturday afternoon.

More than 200 kids registered for the Austin Jaycees’ 19th Annual Take a Kid Fishing Day Saturday at East Side Lake. The event is in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources’ Take a Kid Fishing weekend, in which parents without fishing licenses can take any children 15 or younger fishing for free.

Though East Side Lake is clearly not renowned for its fishing, that didn’t stop area youth from casting bait, snagging weeds, breaking lines and, occasionally, catching a few elusive fish.

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Take R.J. Anderson for example. The 11-year-old hadn’t caught a fish after several hours, but he still had a smile and was confident that he was going to win the trophy for biggest fish. Still, winning wasn’t everything.

“I just like catching the fish,” R.J. said, who occasionally fishes in East Side Lake and other small waters around Mower County.

For many, like Katara, 5, it was a learning experience. Though she was far from ready to grab a nightcrawler and put it on a hook, she may just remember a few tips for the next time she fishes. Simply getting outside and experiencing the fun with others was a positive thing, too.

“Living in Austin, you don’t really think of fishing a lot, so it’s a good way to get out and fish,” said Katara’s father, Paul Fischer, who took both Katara and his 8-year-old son, Evan, to East Side Lake for the day.

Some may not have expected many people to line the banks of East Side Lake, but it happened. It was far from a Lake of the Woods vacation; but given each youngster’s expression, that didn’t matter.