Kids Fishing Day

James Gilliam, Douglasville, shows off his trout caught during Kids Fishing Day in Cave Spring Saturday,. The annual event is sponsored by the Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

The annual Trout Unlimited Kids Fishing Day is on June 16 — just a week away — and parents and kids need to be ready to spend some quality time together in Cave Spring the Saturday morning before Father’s Day.

For the last 30-plus years, kids, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents from all around Northwest Georgia have descended on Rolater Park carrying rods, reels and assorted baits on that special Saturday morning with the one objective — letting the child catch some trout. Over the years our friends at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have supplied about 30,000 rainbow trout so that children from 3 years old thru 12 would have great odds at catching a fish.

We have averaged about 400 kids every fishing day, and with nearly 1,000 trout stocked in the pond and the creek each year just for the event, the odds are fairly good that a kid will catch at least one trout. Sure, sometimes some of the children will go without catching anything and some seem to have the right touch or skills and catch fish after fish. What most folks do not understand is that not catching fish is part of fishing. Whether your child has not fished before or has fished just a little, it would be wise to take your child fishing prior to Kids Fishing Day.

Even if you do not have a fishing license, today is free fishing day in Georgia, so you do not have an excuse to stay away from the local pond or small lake. Take a kid fishing and let him or her get the skills needed to get some trout. Grab some worms or crickets and the kids and get some practice in.

You and the child will be better anglers with some extra time at the creek, lake or pond. Help the kid with his or her casting skills, especially accuracy. Accuracy is very important when there are a lot of children all trying to cast at the same time. If you are lucky this free fishing day you might find some sunfish that are willing to bite. This is when learning when and how to set the hook is important. Remember that practice makes perfect.

Kids Fishing Day is open to all kids from 3 to 12 and there is no fee. This is the only day that fishing is allowed in the pond except for Trout Unlimited’s Veterans Fishing Day, which is on July 21 this year.

It is very important that the parents register the child before they start fishing. We will be giving out door prizes to the kids during each fishing period and they must be registered to be eligible for a prize. Registering also entitles the kids to a soda and a hot dog. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

Each age group will have a specific time to fish in the pond with 3-4-year-olds from 9-9:30 a.m., 5-6-year-olds from 9:45-10:15 a.m., 7-9-year-olds from 10:30-11 a.m., and 10-12-year-olds from 11:15-11:45 a.m. All of the age groups can fish the pond from noon until 1 p.m.

There is a limit of five fish per child in the pond, and the state enforces an eight-fish limit for the creek. The creek may be fished at any time by the children.

Remember that this day is for the kids and do your part to make it a great day for them. Don’t forget the bait, the rod and reel with good line on it and a cooler with ice for the fish. Ice is the only way to assure that the fish will stay fresh and tasty for that night’s supper.