6th Annual Detroit River Kids Fishing Festival
BY PAIGE WIGREN AND JUSTIN CHIOTTI, ALPENA FWCO – WATERFORD, MI SUB-STATION
Courtesy of Detroit River Conservancy
Children were taught how to bait a hook, casting technique, and how to safely remove their catch by instructors from the Michigan State Parks Explorers Program. Staff from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission educated children about invasive species threatening the Great Lakes. The excited chatter of children wanting to win the trophy designated for the largest fish captured in both boy and girl divisions could be heard along the RiverWalk throughout the day. While many fish were captured, a freshwater drum for the girls division and a rock bass for the boys division ending up winning the trophies and earning bragging rights until next year.
The Detroit River Kids Fishing Fest is a fantastic outreach event that gives the youth in the Detroit Metropolitan Area an opportunity to connect with the great outdoors. 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 rapidly undergoing a transformation before our eyes. Funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided opportunities for multiple agencies to work towards restoring fish and wildlife habitat all along the Detroit River, and the children attending the Detroit River Kids Fishing Festival are reaping the benefits.
This year the event was presented by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Belle Isle Conservancy, Rivertown Detroit Association, Wayne County Parks, Sierra Club, Green Living Science, Friends of the Detroit River, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, IHOP, Wheelhouse Detroit, Concentra, and Michigan State University Extension.