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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

River Days Kids Fishing Fest on the Detroit River

Region 3, June 11, 2011
Kids fish fest attendee holding her first fish.  Captured in the Detroit River. Approximately 300 children attended the event.
Kids fish fest attendee holding her first fish. Captured in the Detroit River. Approximately 300 children attended the event. - Photo Credit: n/a
Kids fish fest attendees enjoying fishing along the Detroit River.
Kids fish fest attendees enjoying fishing along the Detroit River. - Photo Credit: n/a

On June 11th, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held its inaugural “River Days Kids Fishing Fest” along the Detroit River. The event was held at the Marina at Milliken State Park and Harbor and was designed to give families, parents, and children an opportunity to enjoy fishing along the Detroit Riverfront while learning about environmental stewardship and sustainability. June 11th was designated by the State of Michigan as free fishing weekend, so adults as well as children could enjoy this free event. Approximately 300 children, parents, and grandparents participated.

 

Children and adults attending the event who did not have fishing poles received loaner poles provided by Michigan State University Extension. Michigan Sea Grant and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources manned booths, where attendees learned about aquatic invasive species, including Asian carp, round goby, and rusty crayfish. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also provided children with “My First Fish Certificates,” which states the fish species they captured, location, and date. The Michigan Department of Community Health provided handouts regarding fish consumption advisories in nearby waterbodies. Kim Stricker, producer and host of the nationally televised program “Hook n’ Look” coordinated a fishing clinic where children learned the basics of casting, knot tying, fish identification, as well as catch and release techniques. Employees from the United States Coast Guard, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) also assisted with activities.

Fish biologist Justin Chiotti along with student employee Margaret Hutton from the Alpena FWCO attended the event. Most of their time was spent distributing fishing poles, bait, and teaching children fishing basics such as casting, untangling fishing line, untangling fishing line, and untangling fishing line. Justin had the opportunity to help many children catch their first fish. It was very exciting watching them reel in a fish for the first time.

At the conclusion of the event, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy along with other sponsors gave away fishing tackle, fishing poles, and other items. Due to its success, the event has already been scheduled for next year on June 9, 2012. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to play a larger role in the event next year and looks forward to collaborating with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the other partners for years to come.

This event is consistent with the Service’s priority of connecting children with nature and addresses the ‘Partnerships and Accountability’ and ‘Public Use’ priorities of the Fisheries Program’s Vision for the Future.

Contact Info: Justin Chiotti, (248) 891-0087, Justin_Chiotti@fws.gov