March 11, 2011 > Fishing in the City
Fishing in the City
By Julie Grabowski
Forget the computer, board games, books, and movies - the fish are biting in Fremont! The City of Fremont Parks and Recreation Department together with the California Department of Fish and Game and City of Fremont Environmental Services invite kids to discover a fun new hobby at "Fishing in the City." Held at Lake Elizabeth, this event gives kids ages 3-16 a chance to learn the fundamentals of fishing and practice their newfound knowledge on the spot.
High school volunteers, city employees, and members of Dawn Breakers Lions Club will be instructing and aiding young "fisherpeople" through two morning sessions beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 19. Escorts take groups of five to ten kids through learning stations where they receive instruction in knots, rigging, casting, safety, ethics and environment. Once they have visited all stations, kids are given a loaner pole and tackle box to put their skills to the test.
"Fishing in the City" encourages kids to get involved in outdoor activities and enjoy time with family and friends. "We provide them the opportunity where they might not necessarily go out and do it on their own," says Park Ranger Jeff Howard.
The event returned last year after a 10 year hiatus to great response. Over 150 kids participated with more on a waiting list. This year space has been expanded to accommodate 200 kids with one a very noticeable addition: fish! Due to a last minute stocking prohibition by the Department of Fish and Game last year, organizers had to make do without enhancing the lake fish population. But this time a netted area of the lake will be stocked with 500 pounds of catfish. While fish inhabit the lake, the additional stock within a sequestered area greatly increases the kids' chances of experiencing that exciting tug on the line. An additional 500 pounds of catfish will be released outside the net.
Catch and release is suggested, but young fishers can keep their trophy if they wish; catch and keep will be limited to one or two fish depending on fishing success.
"Fishing in the City" is a statewide program through the California Department of Fish and Game established in 1993 to spread the joy of fishing and create fishing opportunities closer to home for those in a more urban setting. Several local cities participate in the program, including Newark, Milpitas, San Jose, Campbell and Vallejo, with some offering the event multiple times a year. Milpitas had their first event at Sandy Wool Lake in February and is offering another round May 1st. "I would love to expand it," says Howard of Fremont's program, but for now is just happy that the event is back.
As a souvenir of their day and encouragement to come out again, participants will receive a free starter tackle box including two or three hooks, a lure, bobber, weights, and tackle. "We're teaching them something they can use for the rest of their life," says Howard.
And whether the event inspires a new generation of fishermen or renews interest in adults, many nearby bodies of water are available to continue the joy of fishing. In addition to Fremont's Lake Elizabeth, fishing is available at Lakeshore Park in Newark, Shinn Pond near Niles, Quarry Lakes in Fremont, Lake Chabot one mile east of San Leandro, Cull Canyon Lake and Don Castro Reservoir in Castro Valley, Calaveras Reservoir east of Milpitas, San Antonio Reservoir east of Sunol, and Lake Merritt and Channel in Oakland. Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge offers salt water fishing opportunities.
"Fishing in the City" is a great opportunity to expand horizons and learn something new; the best part of all being the quality time together for parents and kids, creating special memories that will last long after the fish stop biting.
Call (510) 494-4300 to register or sign up online at www.regerec.com. Use barcode # 148376 for the first session, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m., and # 148377 for the second, 10 a.m. - noon. Each session has room for 100 guests. For more information call (510) 790-5541. To learn more about local fishing opportunities visit the California Department of Fish and Game online at www.dfg.ca.gov.
Fishing in the City
Saturday, March 19
8 a.m. - 10 a.m. (Session 1)
10 a.m. - noon (Session II)
Lions Picnic Area
Sailway Dr., Fremont