3rd Annual Kids Fishing Festival on the Detroit River
BY JUSTIN CHIOTTI, ALPENA FWCO – WATERFORD MI SUBSTATION
Kids Fish Festival. Credit: USFWS
For the third year in a row, fish biologists from the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office – Waterford Substation and staff from the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge participated in the Detroit River Kids Fishing Festival. The Rivertown Detroit Kids Fishing Festival is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rivertown Detroit Association, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The event is designed to introduce children and adults in the Detroit Metropolitan Area to fishing and to promote aquatic stewardship. Over the past three years nearly 1,200 children have participated in the event.
The fishing festival takes place at Milliken State Park and Harbor along the Detroit RiverWalk. This year the event was held on Saturday, June 9th, overlapping with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources “Free Fishing Weekend”. Over 450 children and families were present. Children were taught “fishing basics” by instructors in the Michigan State Parks Explorers Program. Staff from the United States Coast Guard was on hand to teach children about boating safety and Michigan Sea Grant educated children about invasive species in the Great Lakes. This year a trophy was given out to the largest fish captured in both girl and boy divisions. While many fish were captured, a northern pike and white bass took home the trophies.
during the Detroit River Kids Fish Festival. Credit: USFWS
The Rivertown Detroit Kids Fishing Festival gives the youth in the Detroit Metropolitan Area the opportunity to enjoy a pastime many of us take for granted. The list of volunteers and supporters for the event grows each year and it’s not hard to understand why after seeing the joyful smile of a child catching a fish for the first time. The Detroit River is designated as an Area of Concern in the Great Lakes, but is undergoing a transformation before our eyes. Funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is restoring fish and wildlife habitat all along the Detroit River and the children attending the Rivertown Detroit Kids Fishing Festival are reaping the benefits.
This event would not have been possible without funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Youth in the Great Outdoors Connecting People with Nature Funding Initiative. With these funds, event sponsors were able to purchase fishing poles, bait and tackle, tents, and other items which will be used for the long-term sustainability of this event.
Below is a list of the supporters who made this event possible: Rivertown Detroit Association, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, United Methodist Retirement Communities, Absopure Water, Lakeside Fishing Shop, IHOP, Michigan State University Extension, The UPS Store, and META-Web, LLC.