Kids Fishing Day is Saturday

Courtesy photo Griffyn and Emma Verbeek of Gladstone proudly show off knots they learned to tie from Greg Gendron, a Kids Fishing Day volunteer from Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County at last year’s Kids Fishing Day. Knot tying is one of over a dozen free activities available for kids to enjoy at Kids Fishing Day.

RAPID RIVER — Kids Fishing Day will return to Camp 7 Lake Campground Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. All activities are free.

Together with nearly 100 cooperating businesses, service clubs and fishing manufacturers and 70 volunteers, the Hiawatha National Forest will sponsor Kids Fishing Day, the 28th anniversary of the event. Designed for kids up to 16 years of age, the purpose of Kids Fishing Day is to introduce youngsters to the joy of fishing. The event typically draws between 250 and 300 youngsters each year.

Thanks to donations from area businesses and service organizations, the first 300 youngsters will receive a free raffle prize. Those first 300 children will also receive a free goodie bag chock full of items donated by fishing tackle manufacturers as well as a sweet treat from Sayklly’s. Free hot dogs, chips and soda donated by local merchants from Manistique, Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River will be served up by the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sports Fishermen.

Registration for Kids Fishing Day begins on Saturday at 11 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. in the picnic area. There is no preregistration. The event runs until approximately 3:30 p.m. This is Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend, a time when all fishing license fees are waived for residents and out-of-state visitors alike. The entire event is free and open to youngsters ages 16 years and under.

The day includes over a dozen outdoor activities including casting contests, minnow races, face painting, free food, and two fishing ponds for kids ages 12 and under. Bluegills will be enticing the children in one of the ponds this year, while trout provided by the Department of Natural Resources will be found in the other pond. Professional fisherman Greg Karch will be returning with his “Backyard Bass” gear and will teach youngsters how to cast and how to tie knots. Fly fishing techniques will also be taught by Kevin LaBumbard and four lucky youngsters will win fly fishing packages. Face painters from Rapid River High School will be on-hand as will Smokey Bear. The DNR will have a table with animal furs so the kids can touch and learn about different animal coats, and there will also be Aquatic Invasive Species games.

Kid’s Fishing Day is made possible thanks to the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County, Industrial Maintenance Services (IMS), the Hiawatha National Forest and the cooperation of many volunteers, local merchants and service organizations.

In addition to Kids Fishing Day activities at Camp 7, folks are welcome to come to kayak, swim or camp, or to hike or bike the two mile long Van Winkle Lake trail which begins at the boat launch. Camp 7 Lake Campground has 39 campsites and although all reservable campsites have been taken, there are many campsites available on a first come, first served basis. Based on previous year’s experience, campers should plan to arrive on Thursday or early Friday morning to have the best chance of finding an open campsite. Some of the first-come first serve campsites offer electricity.

For families traveling from the Manistique area, Camp 7 Lake Campground is located four miles west of County Road 437 (the Thunder Lake Road) on County Road 442. For families traveling from Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River, Camp 7 Lake Campground is located eight miles east of Forest Highway 13 on County Road 442.

For additional information, contact the Forest Service at 906-474-6442.