Minnesotans who have yet to wet a line can do so on June 8-10 when they can fish without a license while accompanying a child younger than 16, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The annual Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend is designed to rekindle childhood memories, construct some new ones and create the next generation of anglers who will be the future stewards of the state's natural resources.
"Remember catching your first fish?" asked Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring coordinator. "Helping a child catch his or her first fish and seeing that big smile never gets old."
There are several keys to providing that special experience. The most important one is for the adult to leave their fishing pole at home so they can focus on the child's positive angling experience.
"We urge people to pay attention to the young angler," Kurre said. "Help bait the hook, cast and watch for a bite. Share your childhood memories of fishing, too, or just plain talk."
Visit www.mndnr.gov/fin to find helpful fishing information, including the location of fishing piers, how to rig fishing gear and fish identification. Local bait shops also can offer good advice on where to take a child fishing.
"Adults unable to participate in this year's official Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend should still consider inviting a youth to go fishing," Kurre said. "The cost of an annual resident fishing license is just $17, an inexpensive investment in a child's outdoor future. "
Free Minnesota state parks "I Can Fish!" programs provide opportunities for angles to sharpen their fishing skills. Visit www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/can_fish.html to locate a nearby program. A list of parks that provide free loaner equipment is available at www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/loaner.html.
Hands-on angling opportunities with experts is available Saturday, June 9, at West Thompson Dakota County Park in South St. Paul and at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. Details are available online at www.mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing.