That Ice Will Hold 5...Hundred!
BY AARON VON ESCHEN, GENOA NFH
The Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Fisheries Services and the three La Crosse area U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fisheries Offices put their 7th Annual Kids Ice Fishing Day for children ages 5-12 on January 26th at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery. This year turned out a record attendance of over 560 people, with over 290 kids trying their hand at catching rainbow trout through the ice. A nicer day couldn’t be had for the anxious group who were eager to pursue the more than 1,000 hungry rainbow trout that were awaiting them.
A brief overview of ice fishing safety was given by Eric Leis of the La Crosse Fish Health Center to kick off the event. Eric is our ice fishing expert, with many hours each winter put on the ice re-fining his technique. Following the overview the rules and regulations were explained to the anglers and then off to the frozen pond they went in pursuit of catching a rainbow trout. Many first time anglers were in attendance that day and eager and pleased to catch their first fish. Big smiles and happy faces were seen all across the ice as fish bit and nibbles were felt. Each kid had to opportunity to catch at least one fish and many had gone home with a limit of three of fish. With so many kids ready to fish, more holes had to be drilled. Luckily hatchery staff was on-hand drilling holes to ensure kids had a spot to fish.
Attendees were offered a lunch provided by the Friends Group and everyone took home more than a few memories. The staff at Genoa NFH would like to thank all the volunteers, our Friends Group and the staff from the La Crosse Fish Health Center and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office for their help in getting all the kids geared up, and out on the ice for a day full of fun and excitement!