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WILDIFE AND SPORT FISH RESTORATION: Anchorage Girl Scouts Have Fun and Learn During an Ice Fishing Outing
Alaska Region, February 22, 2014
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Handing out fishing gear to participants
Handing out fishing gear to participants - Photo Credit: FWS
Spying on what is under the ice with underwater camera monitor.
Spying on what is under the ice with underwater camera monitor. - Photo Credit: FWS

On a clear and chilly morning of February 22, 2014, Beach Lake, north of Anchorage, Alaska was buzzing with activity as the sun rose over the mountains. Nearly two dozen volunteers from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Bass Pro Shops prepared for the arrival of 48 members from 16 Girl Scout Troops from Anchorage and nearby communities of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. It was ice fishing day. Volunteers pulled sleds full of gear 100 yards out onto the frozen lake, drilled fishing holes in the ice, and set up warming tents and a hot cocoa station.

 

At 10:00 am, the Girl Scouts circled around to listen to lively presentations about safety, fishing ethics, and fish biology on the frozen lake and everyone could feel the anticipation and excitement of the kids hoping to be the first one to yell “FISH ON.” More than 18,000 fish had been stocked into this lake over the past 8 months. But like all fishing, the bite can be elusive, and it proved to be a day of fishing, not catching. Fortunately, the kids took it in stride and there were plenty of smiles that morning. And ice fishing was not the only activity going on.

There was an underwater video camera that gave the kids a chance to see what was lurking beneath the ice, and yes, a few fish were spotted. Within the warming tents, the kids participated in several educational activities about conservation actions carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Scouts learned about exciting careers in the Service, how anglers and boaters pay for conservation in this country, and fisheries conservation. Every participant was given a new ice fishing rod and reel to take home for a future fishing trip with family and friends. Almost all the girls indicated they wanted to go fishing again sometime. These rods and reels were provided through a previous grant from the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative.

“Ice fishing is a great way for girls to get out and experience the outdoors during the winter months. Judging by the girls’ enthusiasm I’m sure that some of them will definitely try fishing again in the near future. This event did a great job of exposing girls to the sport,” said Tasha Nichols, Girl Scouts of Alaska


3-minute video of ice fishing event
http://youtu.be/zjrVW3opHm4
Pictures of the ice fishing event
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_alaska/sets/72157641813609924/
Contact Info: Mary Price, 907-786-3982, mary_price@fws.gov



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