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Hundreds of volunteers donate thousands of hours each year at the Go Fishin’ Pond at the Indiana State Fair. Photo courtesy of Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Hundreds of volunteers donate thousands of hours each year at the Go Fishin’ Pond at the Indiana State Fair. Photo courtesy of Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Aquatic Education Grants help reach new anglers at Indiana State Fair

Hoosiers strengthen fishing traditions at the state fair. This year 3,600 young anglers (age 5-17) cast a line at the Indiana State Fair Fishing Pond, which is run by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Go FishIN program.This free fishing experience attracts both new and experienced anglers. It’s so popular that registration is required! For 25% of participants, this was their first experience fishing.

Kids learn about sport fishing before heading out to the pond, where volunteers work one-on-one to show new anglers how to use a cane pole and bait a hook. The pond is stocked with Channel catfish and hybrid sunfish. After the fair these fish are stocked in Go FishIN in the City lakes so anglers of all ages can catch them.

After reeling in their catch, participants visit the education station to learn about upcoming fishing events, places to fish around Indianapolis, where to get a fishing license, and make fish themed crafts.This year the Indiana Department of Natural Resources partnered with the Indiana Department of Health to share information about fish consumption advisories.

This event is made possible by the partnerships between Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other agencies, and hundreds of volunteers. This year 250 volunteers gave 2,480 volunteer hours to share their love of fishing.

“The Indiana State Fair Fishin’ Pond would not be able to help over 3,600 kids go fishing without all of our great volunteers,“ said Michelle Cain, Wildlife Information Specialist. “It’s really a collaborative effort among Go FishIN staff, DNR, volunteers and partner organizations that allows us to reach so many people in just 17 days.”

Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources “Go FishIN” program receives funds from the Aquatic Resource Education Program administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The state fair is only one of 330 Indiana sport fish education events in 2017 focused on engaging 33,000 participants with fish biology, fisheries management, angling skills and angler ethics and safety. Aquatic education grants also help to reach 500 participants at approximately 30 environmental literacy events focused on broad water quality issues that affect watersheds, water quality, and fish and human health. Additionally, these grant funds support 12 volunteer opportunities that empower 1,000 volunteers to take an active role in aquatic education and improving water quality and aquatic habitats.

Watch this Go Fishin’ Pond in action in this Indiana Department Natural Resources video.

By Melissa A. Clark
Regional Office - External Affairs

Kids make memories at the state fair Go Fishin’ Pond when they cast a line and catch a fish for the first time. Photo courtesy of Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Kids make memories at the state fair Go Fishin’ Pond when they cast a line and catch a fish for the first time. Photo courtesy of Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

 

Last updated: September 13, 2017