Genoa National Fish Hatchery
Ice Fishing Event Just Keeps Getting Bigger and Better
BY DOUG ALOISI, GENOA NFH
Genoa National Fish Hatchery's annual Kids Ice Fishing Day was great fun for all despite warmer than normal winter conditions this year casting doubt on whether the ice would be thick enough to hold the event. A recent cold snap moved in to help us out and give us about 9-12 inches of ice to literally support the event.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's La Crosse area fisheries offices (the La Crosse Fish Health Center, the La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and the Genoa National Fish Hatchery) again hosted the event, sponsored by our Friends Group, the Friends of the Upper Mississippi.
The event has humble beginnings back to when it was held at Goose Island Park, just south of La Crosse Wisconsin. It's is now a highly anticipated winter outing.
a nibble. Credit: USFWS
The main focus of the event is to give the children a chance to develop fun memories of an outdoor outing. Then this will hopefully develop into a love of the outdoors, and a desire to preserve the riches of our natural resources. Then finally, we hope this bears fruit into creating a conservation legacy for their children to develop and enjoy. One of the beautiful side benefits of the event is that it also creates great family memories as parents and children get to share in the joy of being outdoors together catching fish. More than 600 people arrived at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery on the February 5th to learn more about ice fishing, and to give kids ages 5-12 an opportunity to fish a stocked pond for rainbow trout at the Hatchery. Three hundred and fifteen children from ages 5-12 years and their parents, some who had never been ice fishing before, were given a short primer on ice fishing and ice safety by Kyle Von Ruden. Kyle is a fish biologist and ice fishing expert from the Whitney Genetics Lab. The group then had an opportunity to fish for the rest of the morning on the hatchery’s 2-acre rearing Pond 11.
The children and their parents were then fed a light lunch provided by our Friends Group and sent home happy. Most children even caught their first fish through the ice, and many of the children went home with their limit of 4 keepers. Of those keepers, some were as large as 18 inches. Many thanks to our volunteers, the Friends of the Upper Miss, and the staff at the three La Crosse area fisheries offices to get kids and their parents outside to enjoy all nature has to offer.