Free kid's fishing days set

Kid's free fishing days with Gary Heffley

by Gary Heffley

A couple of dates and locations have been announced for upcoming Free Kid's Fishing Events in the North State. These events are very popular with the entire family and offer youth the chance to catch trout, even if they have never fished before. As a frequent volunteer,  I can attest that many first-time anglers net their first catch trophy at these events. Of course, experienced young anglers are welcome as well, as they can show off their skills and offer tips to the new anglers.

The first date is Saturday, April 21 at Anderson River Park as part of the annual Family Fun Fest sponsored by the Cascade Union Elementary School District and the City of Anderson Community Service Parks and Recreation. Besides the fishing, there will be many games and interactive booths for the entire family to enjoy. Fishing for the trout supplied by the CDFW will be offered from 9:00am to 2:00pm. For those who do not have their own fishing gear there will be some fully rigged  loaner rod and reel outfits available for use on a first come first served basis with bait provided. Besides the stocked trout being available, the ponds at Anderson River Park have been known to contain some bluegill and bass. Volunteers will be available to assist anglers and families throughout the day.

The second event will be held at Lassen Christian Camp in Viola, east of Redding on May 19.  The camp is located just off Highway 44 and makes for a great day excursion as the location is a gateway to Mt. Lassen and the Hat Creek region. Fishing will be from 9:00am to 2:00pm and as with the Anderson event, loaner outfits and bait will be available. Volunteers will be on hand to offer assistance as well and at times it will be hard to tell if the volunteers or the kids are having the most fun.

As both worms and dough baits (Powerbait) are offered as bait at these events, it is important to note that there two very different ways to present these baits. Mix up the techniques and baits and your chances of catching trout are not good.  As outfits will be offered with each rigging technique,  just make sure to use the right bait for the right set up.

For those fishing with worms, the basic setup of  a hook suspended  under a bobber with a small split shot on the line above the hook to keep the bait hanging straight below the bobber, is best. When a trout takes the bait, the bobber will disappear below the surface or dance wildly across the surface.

Powerbait and other doughbaits are designed for fishing off the bottom,  As these baits float, using a hook with a long leader tied to a barrel swivel with a sliding sinker above the swivel works best, as it allows the bait to float off the bottom where cruising trout will pick up the offering.

Too often, anglers will try and use dough baits under a bobber and as these baits float, the baits just sit on the surface next to the bobber, oops. Or a worm is used with a sliding sinker rig where unless the worm is inflated with air, will just sit on the bottom or in the weeds, where nothing will pick it up...again oops. The volunteers see it all the time, so again, remember the right set-up for the bait choice.

Both events are open to anglers under the age of 16. Parents and adults can assist but cannot fish for the youngsters, who must be able to help hold the rod and reel. These rules are enforced, and unfortunately, citations can and have been issued to those who take advantage and disregard the rules.

Pack some chairs, hats and sunglasses, a camera to capture the memories, along with an ice chest to bring home the fish and make plans for a couple of great events. I hope to see you there.

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over 10 years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has a long history in the Sporting Goods field and uses that extensive experience to impart his wisdom in his writing.