On Thursday August 16,2015, Umbagog Lake State Park hosted a New Hampshire Fish and Game’s “Lets go Fishing” event. Every summer, New Hampshire Fish and Game, the Umbagog Wildlife Refuge, as well as NH State Parks, work hard to plan and organize a full day of activities that encourages folks to get out and go fishing. Guests get a great education, a free boat ride and access to both fishing rods and live bait…all at no cost.
The day begins at 9am under a big tent, where a fun and interactive class takes place covering basic ecological concepts and introductory fishing skills. After a few hours spent at base camp, kids are anxious to board the boat. The crowd prepares for a voyage out onto Lake Umbagog.
We filled three pontoon boats with participants and head out from base camp around 12:30pm. All three boats spread out and anchored down just south of Big Island along the western shore of the lake.
Kids pulled out their rods, baited up with worms, and were casting their lines in all directions. The first fish was caught within minutes.
After one, came two, and after two came three…Since the first catch, they didn’t stop catching fish the entire two hours that we were on the water.
I was on one of the state-owned pontoon boats. Kids counted the fish they caught up to 20…after that, they stopped counting. On just our boat alone, there were at least 100 fish caught in just two hours on the lake.
We returned back to base camp around 2:30pm. The three boats pulled in and unloaded a very energized group.
Upon returning to the docks, the other two boats shared success stories similar to our own. Between all three boats, the group had caught and released at least 200 fish.
All in all, we caught yellow perch, fallfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, as well as smallmouth bass. One proud fisherman decided to bring back his sizeable catch. Back at basecamp, people gather around in awe to examine the impressive smallmouth bass.
The event turned out to be a huge success. Not only did we catch a lot of fish, but the kids made some incredible memories. Seeing a kid catch a fish for their first time is a very special moment. Their eyes light up. Their smile grows so bright it will make the lake glow. After a quick spark of excitement they return the fish back to the lake and almost can’t wait a moment longer to put new bait on the hook and cast it back out for another fish. A kids first catch only happens once in their lifetime and it is amazing to see. I believe that this is the ultimate goal of the program. Getting kids excited about being in nature is what it is all about.
New Hampshire Fish and Game does an outstanding job putting this program together. Connecting kids to nature creates memories that these kids will cherish for a lifetime. To find out more about programming check out their site: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/lets-go-fishing.html