Newsroom Midwest Region

Practice makes perfect: Bending a rod at Seney National Wildlife Refuge

June 27, 2017

Young angler from Manistique, Michigan. Photo by Sara Siekierski/USFWS.
Young angler from Manistique, Michigan. Photo by Sara Siekierski/USFWS.

Over the weekend, Seney National Wildlife Refuge provided the perfect backdrop for the annual children's fishing day in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For almost three decades, Seney Natural History Association has helped to host young anglers and their families for a day of fishing and a little healthy competition.

More than 90 kids came out to fish for northern pike, yellow perch and other fish, along the three and a half mile fishing loop. Refuge staff, volunteers and members of the Seney Natural History Association, welcomed children 16 and under from Upper Peninsula and the northern quarter of lower Michigan the chance to bend a rod and compete for catching the biggest fish. The annual event boasts bank fishing, free loaner gear, expert instruction, and a fish fry.

It’s been more than a decade since nonfiction author and journalist Richard Louv published his seminal work, Last Child in the Woods, and people across multiple disciplines rallied together around the idea that children - and all people really - live healthier, happier lives when they spend time outside in nature. Fishing is just one path into that world and Seney Refuge is happy to provide it.

“Seney is a great place for kids to get their feet wet and get a little dirt under their nails,” said Seney National Wildlife Refuge Manager Sara Siekierski.

“This event is also great because we welcome anglers of all ages to come out and experience this beautiful place! It gives moms, dads, and grandparents a chance to share their love of fishing with the next generation,” continued Siekierski.

Fishing is one of the cornerstones of America’s sporting heritage and anglers continue to help lead efforts in wildlife conservation. Collectively, sportsmen and women provide a significant percent of funding for conservation of all wildlife species. According to the American Sportfishing Association, the recreational fishing economy is worth $115 billion. Also, what's good for fish is good for our communities, their health, sustainability and economies.

The fishing event featured arts and crafts, games, and other fun activities, as well as a fishing certificates for the first, second, and third place winners for largest perch and pike in four age categories. Chasz, a 13 year old from Germfask landed the largest fish with a 14.5 inch northern pike.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1935, is located halfway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and has a balance of frontcountry and backcountry recreation. Visitors have the opportunity to adventure in the Seney Wilderness Area, which makes up more than a quarter of the 95,238-acre refuge, or watch wildlife along the auto-tour route and fish from the universally accessible fishing area.