We started the Anchorage Urban Fishing Program in 2011 to help Anchorage youth and their caregivers develop safe fishing skills near home.
Learning opportunities focus around fishing techniques, cooking the catch, and outdoor safety/preparedness. The strategy centers on repeat interactions with kids within and across years; building competence and competence; fun, food, and comradery, and staff consistency. The summer starts with simple lake fishing techniques using closed reels and bobbers and as the summer program progresses we transition to river fishing in current for wild trout and salmon using larger open reels and rods. We focus on breaking down barriers by helping participants overcome fear of outdoor situations through hands-on demonstrations and repetitive training in classroom and outdoor settings. Safety training includes cold-water safety, fording rivers, proper life jacket use, basic first aid, orienteering, filing a float plan, and being safe around wildlife.
Alaska Youth Fish and Wildlife Club was created as a virtual alternative to this fishing program when COVID-19 hit in 2020 to stay connected with Anchorage youth and bridge the time between fishing. We have public Zooms on Wednesdays featuring guests and fish and wildlife-related topics!